Hazaribagh, Nov. 1: The long-pending Koderma-Hazaribagh rail link was back in focus today with MP Yashwant Sinha taking up the issue with railway officials and directing them to finish construction of the 79km stretch by January 31, 2013.
A part of the 200km-long Ranchi-Hazaribagh-Koderma project sanctioned in 1999, railway authorities last December had said the Hazaribagh-Koderma stretch would become operational by November 30 this year. The first deadline was 2005. However, at the meeting today, officials said it would not be possible to run trains from December as lots of work remained unfinished.
Upon hearing this, a furious Sinha asked railway officials led by chief administrative officer of East Central Railway (Hajipur), G.S. Tiwary to arrange fortnightly meetings with the administration to sort out issues holding up the project. He added that he would review the progress of work every month.
Accusing officials of lacking dedication, Sinha said he was in no mood to accept constantly changing deadlines.
District officials also expressed concern over the tardy progress. While SP Manoj Kaushik said he had not been approached even once by railway officials since he took charge four months ago, DC Manish Ranjan said the casual approach of the railway authorities was delaying the project.
Sinha told the railway team that should they face any problem, they should approach him for solutions.
When Tiwary said only 70 per cent of the groundwork had been completed as monsoon had hindered the project, Sinha directed him to ensure that work carried on 24X7. About the nine station buildings, Sinha was told that three were complete, while six were not.
Setting a new deadline of January 31, Sinha said he would personally monitor progress of the more than Rs 3,000 crore project. However, when railway officials tried to say that it would not be possible to meet the deadline given the number of tasks pending, Sinha cited the ongoing railway project in Jammu and Kashmir. He said if work could progress at a healthy pace in such a difficult terrain, there was no reason why it could not be completed on time in the plains.
Later, speaking to The Telegraph, Tiwary said his officials would coordinate with district officials. He asked his officials to remain in touch with contractors and also to verify progress with spot visits.
Koderma-Hazaribagh rail link
Stretch Distance (km) Status
Koderma-Urwan 13 Opened for goods train
Urwan-Padma 21 December 31 deadline
Padma-Katkamsandi 21 March 31, 2013 deadline
Katkamsandi—Hazaribagh 24 January 31, 2013 deadline