Ranchi, Sept. 19: Government officials and a representative of National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), Ranchi, will attend a meeting in New Delhi tomorrow to take the first step in securing green clearances for the Mahulia-Baharagora-Kharagpur road, over six months after an agency was picked to execute the widening project.
The meeting with officials of the Union ministry of environment & forests will focus on fixing the terms of references for obtaining forest and environmental clearances for the project. Ranchi-based NHAI deputy general manager-cum-project director Awadhesh Kumar will also attend it.
“A meeting is scheduled tomorrow here at the ministry of environment and forests. The terms of references such as holding public hearings for clearances is likely to be decided in the meeting,” said a senior NHAI official.
In February, Calcutta-based Simplex Infrastructures Ltd was chosen to execute the project that could benefit both Jharkhand and Bengal.
NHAI deputy general manager (environment) B. Mukhopadhyay confirmed that an expert appraisal committee of the Union ministry would take up the matter.
“Tomorrow, it is likely that the committee would fix the terms of references for the project, which will be the first step towards getting environmental and forest clearances,” Mukhopadhyay told The Telegraph over phone from Delhi.
The Mahulia-Baharagora-Kharagpur project will be the second in the state to be executed on build, operate, transfer and toll (BOT-toll) basis.
Under BOT-toll, the contractor invests the entire project costs, which can be recovered by collecting toll for a stipulated duration.
The Barhi-Hazaribagh project is being executed under BOT-toll, an agreement in which the government also need not pay any annuity (a fixed annual payment).
Another project hanging in the balance is the Ranchi-Rargaon-Mahulia section of NH-33. It was begun early last year after construction major Madhucon Projects Ltd. was chosen as a concessionaire to execute the 163km stretch for a Rs 1,500-crore project on BOT-annuity basis.
A year and a half later, work is yet to start due to pending environment/forest clearances, even as the construction major has set up camps and felled roadside trees.
The 127km Mahulia-Baharagora-Kharagpur road on NH-33 and 6 and connecting Jharkhand with Bengal is vital for the state.
The project will involve construction costs to the tune of Rs 940 crore. A special purpose vehicle, Ma Durga Expressways Pvt Ltd, has been formed to execute the plan, while the equipment, procurement and commissioning contractor is Simplex Infrastructures.
In November 2011, the cabinet committee on infrastructure had approved four-laning of the road under National Highways Development Project (NHDP) phase III.
According to sources, the overall costs of the project after taking into account land acquisition, rehabilitation and pre-construction work have been pegged at Rs 1,083.28 crore.
The concession period of the project is 30 years.
The main objective of the project is to help in infrastructure upgrade in the neighbouring states and cut down time and cost of travel, especially for heavy traffic.