Early Times Report
Jammu, Jan 21: Negligence by PMGSY, the agency supposed to maintain Loran-Mandi road cost 13 lives, in a road accident on 8th December, in Poonch district. The concerned authorities overlooked violation of MoU by the company for laying optical fibre cable (OFC).
According to the sources, downside of road was dug-up by a private company to lay OFC on Mandi-Loran. "There is a standard operating procedure (SOP), for laying the cable, for this purpose, a company to lay OFC approaches concerned department, mostly PWD, R&B or PMGSY for permission, and then the concerned agency gives an estimate (funds required for repairing road post laying of OFC)", said a senior engineer, adding that further the company deposits the amount in official account of concerned Chief Engineer.
He further said that as per the SOP, the company also signs a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with concerned agency. "As per the MoU, a company can dig uphill side for laying the cable, and the concerned has to monitor it, whether the terms and conditions are being followed or not", he said. The Engineer further said that in case of Mandi-Loran road where the accident took place the road was dug-up downside, in violation of MoU, and unfortunately, the PMGSY kept silence, overlooking its duty.
SHO, Police Station Mandi, where a case (road accident) 104/18 under section 336 (act endangering life of personal safety of other) stands registered, when contacted said that investigation into the case is going on. "It is not appropriate now to say anything, as the investigation is going on", he said. Being asked, what steps have been taken by the district administration to avoid such mishaps in future, the Deputy Commissioner, Poonch, Rahul Yadav said that it has been made cleared that the concerned Executive Engineer would be responsible, if any mishap takes place under his/her jurisdiction.
According to sources not only Mandi-Loran road but everywhere in Poonch, the same procedure is followed by the PWD, PMGSY and R&B also. "The field staff JE, AE and AEE preferred to siphon money rather than repairing/topping side of road post completion of OFC laying work", they said and added that sight of untapped/unrepaired road in Mendhar, Surankote and other part of Poonch district is common where OFC laying works completed years back. However, in this (Mandi accident) case yet no action has been taken the officials of PMGSY, as claimed by the DC.