Two-wheelers parked on the incomplete service lane near Sher-e-Punjab Chowk on Tuesday. Picture by Animesh Sengupta
The Tata-Kandra four-lane project is set to miss another deadline, thanks to encroachment hurdles.
Jharkhand Accelerated Road Development Company Limited (JARDCL), the agency executing the ambitious project, wrote to the local administration and state road construction department on Tuesday saying it would not be able to meet the March 31 deadline.
The agency’s senior manager Vinod Tripathy confirmed that they had sent letters to deputy commissioner of Seraikela-Kharsawan Hansraj Singh and executive engineer of road construction department Sanjay Kumar Singh, informing them that they cannot complete work on the service lanes owing to encroachment at over a dozen locations.
“Over 95 per cent work on service lanes flanking the main carriageway has been completed. But, at some locations, we are unable to make progress owing to encroachments. Unless these are removed, we cannot resume work,” said Tripathy.
The manager added that the company had committed to finish work by the end of the financial year because the road construction department had plans to introduce toll collection on the four-lane road from April 1.
Executive engineer of road construction department Sanjay Kumar Singh said he was yet to receive the letter, but added that he had spoken to the deputy commissioner and a fresh attempt to remove encroachments would begin once the Lok Sabha elections were over.
“Hansraj Singh, who only recently joined as deputy commissioner of Seraikela-Kharsawan, is currently busy making arrangements for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. So, he said he would act on the encroachment issue on Tata-Kandra road only after the polls are over,” said the executive engineer.
Seraikela-Kharsawan deputy commissioner Singh, on his part, said he was new to the district and did not know much about the road project or the encroachment problems that stand in the way of its completion.
“I have received information regarding the encroachment hurdle that is impeding completion of the under construction wider Tata-Kandra road and will initiate necessary steps after polls,” he said.
The Rs 185.5-crore project of widening the 15.3kmartery had started way back in June 2011 on a PPP basis between the road construction department and JARDCL.
The project, which aims to decongest roads in the two industrial towns, had an original deadline of April 2013.
While work on widening the road into four lanes is complete, encroachment issues have hindered construction of service lanes time and again.
Besides, a number of building owners have moved Jharkhand High Court to challenge the possible takeover of their land by the administration for the construction of the service lanes.