The opposition Congress Party is generally satisfied with the ongoing Umiam dam repairs, though it would like to see the work expedited to reduce inconveniences to the public.
All five Congress MLAs – Ronnie Lyngdoh, Saleng Sangma, Dr Celestine Lyngdoh, Gabriel Wahlang and Charles Marngar – conducted an inspection of the dam today.
They held extensive discussions with officials of the Meghalaya Energy Corporation Limited (MeECL) and Public Works Department (Roads), offering their recommendations for short term and long term solutions to alleviate commuter concerns.
Speaking to reporters following the inspection, Ronnie Lyngdoh, who is also the Leader of the Opposition, stated that he is satisfied with the progress of work but added that he will request the state government to expedite the repairs.
Lyngdoh also said that the MeECL engineers pointed out that the road on top of the dam should not be used like a national highway.
“I hope with the convergence of the PWD and MeECL they will find a solution so that it can be ensured that if we cannot utilise this dam as a highway then the longevity can be increased or lifespan of the dam can be increased,” he said.
Lyngdoh added that the MeECL officials told the MLAs that the utility had written to the government around 10 years ago calling for renovation work to be carried out. Amusingly, this was the time that the Congress was in power and Lyngdoh a cabinet minister. Today he said that, with the work on now, it is better late than never.
Additional Chief Engineer, E Syiemlieh, said that the corporation had set a target of four months to complete the renovation work and two months have elapsed and he expressed hope that it will be completed within the stipulated time.
Syiemlieh said that as of now the work on the dam portion has not started and so far work on the crack portion is on.
“We thought we will minimise the time as much as possible in the top portion of the dam so that movement of vehicles will be smooth,” he added.
Meanwhile officials of the PWD (Roads) informed that the department has identified some alternative routes between Shillong and Guwahati, such as the Shillong-Diengpasoh road, Mawsiatkhnam road and another road from Mawmaram. Those travelling from West Khasi Hills can access the road from Mairang to Ranibari.