December 30, 2019 1:19:41 am
The Faridkot deputy commissioner (DC) has ordered a magisterial probe following a complaint by a surgeon that he had to undergo a spine surgery because of travelling by a road which has been dug up for the last six months for laying sewerage pipes.
The complainant, Dr Sudhir Khichy, is working as a professor and heads the surgery department of the government-run Guru Gobind Singh Medical College and Hospital in Faridkot.
In a written complaint, the 64-year-old doctor, who was re-employed after retirement, said that to go to his workplace and return home, he had to travel by Sadiq road, which was dug up for laying pipes six months ago. “The left place for movement of vehicles has been damaged by the contractor for various reasons,” it further said.
“Due to this forced offroading, I developed severe disc prolapse of spine with weakness of my right leg. I had to undergo spine surgery in November. Now I am recovering from surgery,” said Dr Khichy’s complaint, adding that the conditions which led to the surgery were yet to be addressed. The doctor also attached a photocopy of his discharge slip. He underwent surgery at a private hospital in Amritsar.
“Many other old persons must be suffering silently like me and even young people can suffer,” said the complaint, requesting the DC to instruct the contractor to repair the roads of Faridkot in public interest.
When contacted, Dr Khichy said that the distance between his home and hospital in Faridkot was 1 km. “The road was dug up in July and by September I had developed a problem in my disc. I had to undergo surgery in November. As a surgeon, I know that the surgery I had to undergo would affect the quality of life in the remaining years. Some problem or the other will remain. My legs are still weak,” he said.
He added, “The misery should end and the road should be repaired. While I had to travel 1 km daily on that road, the students are also at the receiving end as they have to cover 2 km of a similar stretch to reach Medical College, which is located another kilometre away on the same road.”
Faridkot DC Kumar Saurabh Raj said, “I have marked a magisterial probe on the complaint of the surgeon. Kotkapura Sub-Divisional Magistrate Mandeep Kaur will conduct the probe.”
Kumar said that a Punjab Water Supply and Sewerage Board executive engineer had “issued more than 200 notices to the joint venture of Shapoorji Pallonji and M/S Khilari Infrastructure Private Limited, the contractors for the project.” Kumar said “the notices were issued for various reasons, including not completing work by stipulated time frame.”
“Ishwar hi bata sakta hai (Only god can tell),” said the DC, when asked for a time frame within which the contractors will be able to finish the work. The DC said a penalty of Rs 10 crore was also imposed on the contractors in 2017, out of which Rs 2 crore had been recovered.
The DC said, “I feel embarrassed that a citizen much older than me had to come to my office and complain that the road outside their house is dug up for a long time. Why should a normal citizen be forced to suffer like this.”
An official said the Rs 284 crore project, which included laying a sewerage system and sewerage treatment plant for cluster of Faridkot, Jaito and Kotkapura, was to be completed in 18-months’ time.
The official added that the work started in June 2016 and remained suspended for around 13 months with the change of government in the state due to “payment issues”.
The government functionary said the contractors had given a new deadline to complete the work by December 31, but in a recent meeting with top government officials sought another six months for the completion of the work.
The Faridkot DC also got a “preliminary inquiry” done which broadly focused on the quality of the work done so far. The inquiry was done jointly by Public Health SDO and CPWD SDO who have observed that they were not satisfied with the same.
“It was a preliminary inquiry,” said the DC, adding that the report had been sent to senior officials concerned and that there may be another inquiry by senior officials.
A representative of the contractors, who is the project manager, did not respond to calls and text messages.
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