Ranchi, Feb. 21: The secretary of the Union road transport and highways department today requested Jharkhand government to expedite the process of land acquisition for the Rs 1,500-crore four-laning project of NH-33 between Ranchi and Jamshedpur.
A.K. Upadhyay, also the chairman of National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), today chaired a meeting during which land acquisition and environment clearances were identified as the main problems affecting the project.
NHAI general manager A. Srivastava, who is looking after the projects in Bihar and Jharkhand, told The Telegraph: “The issue of land acquisition in many stretches and environment clearances for the Ranchi-Jamshedpur four-laning project are still pending.”
He added, “Both issues need to be solved at the level of the state government. NHAI cannot start things and ask the selected agency to work before 80 per cent of the land is available and environment clearances obtained.”
Construction major Madhucon Projects Limited was selected to execute the project almost a year ago, following at least a couple of abortive bids since 2008-09.
The ambitious project has been delayed for more than a couple of years.
Upadhyay’s visit to the state capital was necessitated as NHAI norms mandate availability of at least 80 per cent of land for a four-laning project before groundwork can kick off.
NHAI is yet to sign a date of appointment with the agency. The appointment holds importance, as the deadline of the project will be decided based on the date.
State road construction secretary N.N. Sinha, refused comment, but an official who participated in the meeting said issues concerning pending land acquisition and forest and environment clearances for the project were discussed, apart from other plans being funded by the Union ministry.
Upadhyay also inspected the Namkum railway overbridge project that is being executed by the national highways wing of the state road construction department.
The Rs 45-crore project, funded by the Union ministry of road transport and highways, has witnessed several delays in the past and earned the wrath of Jharkhand High Court, which recently set an extended deadline of March 2012.
Officials who attended the meeting with the Union secretary included state chief secretary S.K. Choudhary, secretaries (forest) A.K. Sarkar. revenue N.N. Pandey, road construction N.N. Sinha, NHAI chief general manager based in Calcutta A.K. Ahluwalia and the project director, Awadhesh Kumar.