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Four-lane project joins delay club

It’s official. The ambitious Tata-Kandra four-lane project has missed its first deadline.

The Rs 185.5-crore road widening work, which began in 2011 with the objective to decongest the industrial artery, was to be completed by April 20 (Saturday), but more than 15 per cent of the job is still undone. Sources said that while the 15km main carriageway was ready and running for vehicles, service lanes, a footbridge, streetlights and drains were yet to reach their operational stage.

Executive engineer of the road construction department’s Adityapur division Sanjay Kumar Singh confirmed that the project had not been able to meet its deadline. He, however, did not clarify whether the executing agency — the Jharkhand Accelerated Road Development Company Limited (JARDCL) — would be pulled up for the delay. “The deadline was April 20, 2013, but some work remain incomplete. We are looking into the matter,” he said.

A senior executive of the JARDCL, however, minced no words to say that the project would have honoured time had the department ensured hindrance-free availability of land. “The main carriageway is ready. We have started constructing the service lanes. But, encroachment is thwarting our earnest efforts in some pockets,” he said, requesting anonymity.

He added that the road would be ready in another two months, if the authorities concerned removed hurdles. “There is a litany of problems — from JSEB’s electricity poles to pending forest clearance to local encroachment. We had had an agreement with the department on hindrance-free, but we are still facing encroachment at places. We cannot be considered at fault.”

Hurdles notwithstanding, the Tata-Kandra four-lane was hastily inaugurated on December 31 last year by then chief minister Arjun Munda. Though it is a toll road, revenue continues to elude the department because vehicles cannot be charged unless service lanes are ready.

Two temples, including one in Gamharia that is more than 250 years old, are major hurdles for the service lanes. The local administration is in talks with the temple committees. While one has agreed to relocate, the management of the other is up in arms against demolition.