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PWD asked to adapt to changing needs
STAFF REPORTER
 GUWAHATI, Aug 19 - The State Innovation and Transformation Aayog (SITA), Assam, has laid stress on an evaluation study on the activities of the Public Works Department (PWD) of the State with a view to modernising the works of the department to suit the modern-day requirements.

 SITA vice chairman Dipok Kumar Barthakur, while speaking at a meeting he had with the PWD officials and some other stakeholders recently, requested the PWD officials to touch upon the important issues facing their department and how they cope with the changing technological advances, besides adapting to the changing environments and requirements, taking into consideration the local climatic, weather and other variables.

He said that the proposed study team should include technical experts from the Assam Engineering College (AEC), IIT Guwahati and such other institutions which can guide in this respect with their knowledge and expertise. The experts from the AEC, IIT Guwahati, etc., may help the department in the areas of study of the road network, prediction of future traffic and the need for augmenting the road network, identifying the areas of intervention in the growth or rural and urban habitations, markets, etc., to support synchronised and sustainable development.

The area of assessment of the existing capacity of the construction industry in the State and the need to augment the same for speedy implementation of road development schemes in Assam, innovation in policies, rules, financing, work process to increase output of the department, specific case study on road and bridge projects under implementation to analyse performance of the department, impact assessment of specific road and bridge projects, among others, are also important in this respect, he said.

Besides, Barthakur laid emphasis on covering the aspects of environment-friendly new technology and alternative materials for road construction and innovative designs of bridges to bring down the costs and time to construct.

Speaking on the occasion as a stakeholder, Jayanta Sarma of the Heritage Conservation Society of Assam (HeCSA) drew the notice of the participants to the present practice of the PWD of raising road levels in the urban areas of the State while undertaking repairs. This practice is reducing the heights of the adjacent structures, making them vulnerable to inundation very often, among others, causing a lot of problems for their owners and occupants. He also underscored the need to use construction materials which are adaptive to local weather and climatic conditions, while constructing public buildings, so as to ensure the durability of such structures.

Debajit Bhuyan, Under Secretary PWD (Roads) and Shyamanta Bezbaruah, Deputy Secretary, PWD (Building and National Highway), described how the department is coping with the challenges of time and the actual state of affairs. Prof Palashjyoti Hazarika, Head of the Department of Civil Engineering, AEC, also took part in the discussion.

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