Other States

Meghalaya government under fire for crumbling infrastructure after Assembly dome collapse

A portion of dome from an under-construction Assembly building that collapsed recently in Meghalaya. Photo courtesy Twitter

A portion of dome from an under-construction Assembly building that collapsed recently in Meghalaya. Photo courtesy Twitter

GUWAHATI

The Meghalaya government has been under fire for allegedly encouraging corruption and misuse of funds after the dome of the under-construction Assembly building collapsed on May 22.

The BJP, a constituent of the alliance government headed by the National People’s Party (NPP), has been particularly severe on Chief Minister Conrad K. Sangma. It accused him of misusing the Central funds “provided by the BJP” for the benefit of NPP leaders and contractors and setting an example of bad governance.

Bernard N. Marak, vice-president of the State BJP unit, said Mr. Sangma should either let the CBI probe the collapse of the 70-tonne dome and other irregularities or quit. “The BJP had anticipated good governance, all-round development and zero corruption when it lent support to the NPP. But the Chief Minister let the BJP and the people of the state down,” he stated.

State BJP president Ernest Mawrie said, “The greed of politicians, officials and contractors is endangering lives. What if the dome had collapsed after the inauguration of the Assembly building and the House was in session?”.

‘Commission raj’

The Congress and Trinamool Congress also slammed Mr. Sangma for “commission raj” resulting in shoddy work on several infrastructure projects. They cited the collapse of a few under-construction bridges linking strategic villages and the inter-state bus terminus (ISBT) that has been crumbling after the first showers in Meghalaya.

Near State capital Shillong, the ISBT was inaugurated a few months ago. But its ceiling has been leaking and its walls have cracked.

Meghalaya has not had a permanent Assembly building since the old wooden one of 1937 vintage was reduced to ashes in a fire in 2001. The 60-member House is temporarily functioning from a hall in the heritage Brookside Bungalow, which had once been the retreat of Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore.

Work on the new Assembly building at Mawdiangdiang on the outskirts of Shillong was started in June 2019 and was to be completed by August 2022. The Uttar Pradesh Rajkiya Nirman Nigam Limited was awarded the contract for its construction.

The design of the dome was vetted by IIT-Roorkee.

“We are going for an independent probe to find out how the dome atop the central hall of the Assembly building collapsed and whether it affected the two wings of the structure. The reasons could be faulty design and construction error but only experts will be able to ascertain,” Assembly Speaker Metbah Lyngdoh said.


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Printable version | May 25, 2022 1:45:49 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/meghalaya-govt-under-fire-for-crumbling-infrastructure-after-assembly-dome-collapse/article65456370.ece