Villagers decry halting of polytechnic institute construction work, say they want their land back
The foundation stone of the Polytechnic Institute Tamenglong was laid in November 2017, which land was donated by villagers of Khangchiuluan. Yet, the construction of it appears abandoned with just the pillars installed.
It’s been three years since the foundation stone of the Polytechnic Institute Tamenglong was laid in a grand manner, but the building construction work appears abandoned now as one could see only unfinished concrete pillars amid wild bushes and plants.
Why is the building construction work halted? Is the authority concerned looking into it? Several questions come to mind as one visits the site at a scenic lush green hillside of Khangchiuluan (Khongjaron) village, which is about 5 km from Tamenglong HQ.
The foundation stone for construction of the polytechnic was laid on November 29, 2017 soon after the BJP-led government came to power in Manipur. It was laid by former Education Minister Radheshyam, in the presence of then Tamenglong MLA Samuel Jendai, Tamenglong district deputy commissioner Armstrong Pame and other district officials.
During the laying of the polytechnic institute foundation stone, the former education minister had informed that the polytechnic will have five components, including administrative block, hostel and others under a budget of Rs 8 crore project for which an amount of Rs 1.80 crore was already in hand.
However, when this Imphal Free Press correspondent visited the building site at Khangchiuluan village, not a soul was in sight. All the construction activities remained halted and the work site looked abandoned with just the tall unfinished pillars and iron bars installed amidst tall trees and bushes.
It may be pointed out that the land for the Polytechnic Institute Tamenglong was donated by one Girei Gangmei of the village. But to whom was the contract for the building construction work given?
When contacted, the Khangchiuluan village authority chairman and the land donor said that one Rameshore was given the contract work of building the institute. A local special contractor Keibamdi Panmei was listed as the sub-contractor under the Education Engineer Wing as work agency, they said.
The land donor, Girei Gangmei, said that the land was given free of cost to the government hoping that it will be serve the interest of society and the future pillars of Tamenglong.
Five years ago, the family village also donated land for construction of Kendriya Vidyalaya Tamenglong. However, till today, no work has been started, he said, adding that they plan to take back the land if the government is not concerned about the educational development in the district.
"We are ready to take back our land donated to the state government for construction of polytechnic college and Kendriya Vidyalaya Tamenglong if the government is not concerned about the educational development in the district,” said Gangmei, taking serious note of the lackadaisical attitude of the authorities concerned.
While drawing the attention of the government to look into the matter, the village authority together with the land donor has urged the contractors concerned to resume the construction works and complete the building construction in time in the interest of the general public in Tamenglong.
While queried further, the sub-contractor told this correspondent over the phone that they had to stop the construction works of the polytechnic as funds were not released in time by the government as per requirement. Under his supervision, construction work for only one building was underway, he said, alleging that the contractor had even collected some amount from them to mount pressure on the government.
People in Tamenglong district have been long deprived of skill-oriented higher educational infrastructure. With the population ever increasing, the number of educated youth has increased. However, the resultant number of unemployed youth has also increased, especially during the pandemic. In view of it, there’s an urgent need to push for skill learning and ensure completion of the polytechnic institute. It may be mentioned that even the lone Tamenglong College, while it has been functioning for decades, remains lacking in several aspects. Proper development of the college would help thousands of young students who now may not be able to venture out of the district for further studies amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Apart from the district administration, all stakeholders such as concerned parents, civil groups and the public as a whole must contribute by raising their concerns to bring change and real development in the district. Community participation and public voice is imperative for the development of a place and society.