A stretch of unauthorised buildings block the Adityapur-Kandra Road four-laning project. Picture by Animesh Sengupta
Rampant and haphazard encroachment and also what looks like a faulty plan are proving to be major hurdles for the ambitious 15km Adityapur-Kandra Road four-laning project.
If unauthorised buildings have come in the way of construction of the service lane at many places and also the main carriage lane (work has remained suspended along S-Type for four months), Jharkhand State Housing Board (JSHB) is in no mood to issue a no-objection certificate for the four-lane to pass through its area as that will mean demolishing several houses.
The string of illegal establishments has come up on land belonging to public works department (PWD) at one side of the 1km stretch along S-Type. According to sources, the PWD (road construction wing) and the Seraikela-Kharsawan district administration are finding it difficult to order demolitions as the encroachers reportedly enjoy backing of political leaders. If the administration sticks to the rulebook, it has to demolish at least a dozen illegal buildings.
Superintending engineer of public works department (PWD), road construction wing, R.P. Mandal admitted that the four-laning work had been seriously affected at a number of places between Adityapur and Gamharia because of encroachments.
“At some points along S-Type, the problem is so acute that we don’t know how to work out an effective plan for Jharkhand Accelerated Road Development Corporation (a subsidiary of contractor IL&FS) for going ahead with construction,” said Mandal, who is monitoring road construction.
Sub-divisional officer, Seraikela, Chandra Bhushan Singh agreed.
“Despite serious attempts by the administration and PWD (road construction), work on the main carriageway is lying suspended along a 1km stretch of the under-construction road for the past four months,” the SDO told The Telegraph, adding that the imbroglio could be solved only if the PWD removed the encroachers.
The SDO further said that the land on the other side belonged to JSHB, which has to issue a no-objection certificate (NOC) for the four-lane to pass through its territory.
“But getting the NOC will be no easy task as there are several residential establishments that have come up on JSHB land and have to be razed to make way for the road. We are, however, ready to provide logistic support to the PWD in maintaining law and order when it wants to demolish the illegal buildings along S-Type,” Singh said.
Considered to be the lifeline of Adityapur industrial area, the Adityapur-Kandra four-lane is being constructed at a cost of Rs 185.5 crore on a PPP basis. The plan, which had been approved by the design cell of PWD’s road construction wing, seemed to have overlooked the fact that the four-lane needed to pass through a portion of JSHB land.
The width of the four-lane is 120 feet, including the service lane. But near S-Type, only 50 feet of road is available, which means that more space is needed to widen it. As a result, when JARDC started digging work on JSHB land along S-Type, a local resident, Sitaram Singh, raised objections, stalling construction work that led to the bottleneck.
Senior manager of JARDC Alok Mani said that they were facing problems in going ahead with work at a number of places, but S-Type was giving them the toughest time.
“While the main carriageway has been completed along a major portion of the 15km stretch, work at S-Type has been suspended. We are waiting for the impasse to get over,” said Mani.