Manipur High Court on Thursday directed the state government to decongest the traffic on national highway in front of the Old Manipur Secretariat by making arrangements for proper parking of vehicles on both sides.
Further, it directed the state government to strictly enforce the traffic rules to ensure illegal parked vehicles are booked.
The HC gave the direction in connection with a PIL filed by an advocate to complete the balance/remaining work for construction of Capitol Complex (Civil Secretariat Component) at Mantripukhri, Imphal, so that the existing Manipur Secretariat may be shifted to the new building and there is no traffic congestion.
In the petition, it is stated that the Civil Secretariat work was started in the year 2010 and even after about 13 years the same has not been completed. The work for construction of Civil Secretariat was awarded to Simplex Projects Limited.
Since Simplex could not complete the construction work within the stipulated time, the contract was terminated and in 2021 the work was awarded to Sri Avantika Contractors with a condition to complete the work within 12 months.
According to a report submitted by Sri Avantika Contractors to the HC, the work is about 95 per cent complete.
Despite completion of 95 per cent work, out of the total bill of Rs 100.78 crore submitted PWD only paid a sum of Rs 69.11 crore and currently, there is an outstanding of Rs 31.67 crore due to them.
The approval on a large number of deviation items sought by Avantika has not been considered by the PWD and remains actionable at their end.
The government official submission to the HC contended that no representation was submitted by the petitioner to the authorities for remedial action before filing the public interest litigation and on that sole ground, the present public interest litigation is liable to be dismissed.
Coming to the traffic congestion alleged by the petitioner, the vehicles parked on the National Highway-102 in front of the Manipur Secretariat are managed by the Imphal Municipality and action is being taken against the vehicles parked illegally.
The HC stated that though the Civil Secretariat work was started in the year 2010 and even after about 13 years, the same has not been completed’
Additional AG submitted that there is more to recover from Avantika than to pay them and the completion of the project is not related with the payment to the Avantika.
The HC opined that the state government has to be a role model in settling the contractor for the work done by them and because of non-payment, the work cannot be delayed, as the contractor has to pay salaries to its employees for their hard work done and settle the material cost to the traders.
Therefore, the state government and Avantika are directed to comply with their contractual obligations with the completion of construction of Civil Secretariat work. The state is directed to pay the outstanding dues as per the RA Bills raised by the Avantika and also approve the rates of deviations and extra items regarding the Civil Secretariat work at earliest.
Further, the state and the Avantika are directed to co-operate and work in concert with each other to ensure that the Civil Secretariat work is to be completed within a period of three months from the date of receipt of a copy of the order.