As per the review, projects included 14 packages of 845.745 km being built by NHIDCL and 4 projects of 132.59 km funded by NEC and being built by the Nagaland government Credit: EastMojo Image

Kohima: Nagaland governor RN Ravi, who conducted a review of the Dimapur-Kohima four-laning project on Saturday, revealed that the significant reason behind the slow progress and compromised quality of NH-29 was due to “rampant extortions by anti-social elements purportedly belonging to underground armed organisations”. The status and progress of construction of all the roads being built/upgraded under Central Government Schemes or Centrally Sponsored Schemes (CSS) was reviewed by the governor.

“It is indeed shocking how the anti-social criminal elements of over half-a-dozen groups are severely jeopardising the progress of roads in Nagaland,” an official statement from Raj Bhavan said.

The statement said that Ravi has been regularly monitoring the progress of Dimapur-Kohima four-laning project as roads are a priority area of concern. In the review meeting attended by chief secretary, Director General of Police, additional chief secretary, home commissioner, commissioner & secretary, works & housing, engineer-in-chief and chief engineer were present besides senior officials of NHIDCL and Contractors.

As per the review, projects included 14 packages of 845.745 km being built by NHIDCL and four projects of 132.59 km funded by NEC and being built by the state government.

“Contractors narrated their harrowing experiences how they are being threatened on a day to day basis for more and more ransom money and their officials including project managers being abducted for days together. How some of the engineers have run away not to return to save their lives causing unacceptable delay in completion of the projects,” the statement read.

It said that Ravi had taken serious note of such criminal activities and had further directed the DGP and IG Assam Rifles to take the “most stringent actions against such elements and their patrons”. The DGP was also directed to set up an SIT (Special Investigation Team) for registration and focused investigation of all cases against such elements and to also constitute a Highway Construction Protection Force to firmly deal with such elements and provide security to road construction personnel.

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Furthermore, it said that Ravi has decided to do monthly review of progress and security of road projects.

Following this meeting, a press note on Sunday issued by the additional deputy commissioner of police/PRO said that to instill greater public confidence and check illegal extortion, Dimapur police together with the para-military/CAPF forces will be conducting joint patrols, MVCPs and also provide joint escorts to transport convoys.

It appealed the general public for necessary co-operation and provided the following contacts for any assistance: Police Control Room – 7085055050, New Field Gate – 7085055040, Dillai Gate – 7085055042, Chumoukedima Gate – 7085055041, Mobile Unit – 7085055046, Highway Patrol Unit – 7085065160, Para-military/CAPF – 9366160562/7086849191.

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