GUWAHATI, Sept 8 - Placing under scrutiny bridge and road construction works sanctioned by the previous Congress government, PWD Minister Parimal Suklabaidya today created a flutter in the Assembly revealing that a bridge worth nearly Rs 3.5 crore was sanctioned �for a particular individual�.
Though Suklabaidya did not elaborate much while speaking in the House, later talking to journalists he indicated that the bridge was sanctioned in Badarpur on the avenue leading to a politician�s house. �The complaint was given to me by an MLA,� he said, adding that all bridge projects sanctioned by the previous government were being re-examined �if they were actually necessary�.
The minister did not directly hit out at the previous Congress government but wondered as to why the condition of the roads and bridges were in a pathetic state. �Works were announced but never executed,� he said.
Several MLAs cried foul over the projects sanctioned during the previous government.
Legislator Pabindra Deka said he himself had laid the foundation of two road projects, the work on which were yet to start, thus putting him in an embarrassing position in his constituency. Jonai MLA Bhubon Pegu cited an instance in his constituency where only pillars of a bridge were constructed and the project abandoned.
Former PWD minister and Congress MLA Ajanta Neog tried to put up a defence, claiming that she had left a �healthy legacy� in the department.
Referring to the thousands of kilometres of roads built during her tenure, Neog said a �wrong message should not go out from the Assembly�. She said, �If any such bridge was sanctioned for an individual, it should be cancelled.�
Earlier, in response to a question, the minister said he just got one working season which was not enough to bring about a transformation.
�Since February, we are not able to work due to the rains. Even today, it is raining in Guwahati. But once the season permits, we will get down to business. We will ensure that not a single penny of the public is wasted,� he said.
He said the PWD plans to build 1,000 bridges in five years. During the year 2016-17, altogether 237 wooden bridges were made concrete, while this year the number stood at six.
In response to a question by Congress MLA Nurul Huda, the minister said that while there were 7,139 km of concrete roads in the State as on March 31, 2001, it increased to 29,408 km on March 31, 2016. The total length of roads in the State is around 56,000 km.