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Road revamp in a limbo

Ranchi, July 9: Around 500km of Jharkhand roads are lying in a battered state despite crores being spent to revamp them, thanks to a laggard bureaucracy and not to forget, the threat posed by Left-Wing Extremism (LWE).

Reconstruction of several national highways, which are maintained by the NH wing of the state road construction department and monitored and funded by the Union ministry of road transport and highway (MoRTH), and other state arteries are either going very slow or are on pause.

At least, one project has not even started.

Of the highways — Bandgaon-Chaibasa road and Khunti-Bandgaon road — are part of NH-75 (extension), while the stretch between Parwa More and UP border via Garhwa meets NH-75.

The other projects are the Sisai-Basia road in Gumla, Chakulia-Mathiani in East Singhbhum and Garu-Murwai in Latehar district. Of these, the Garu-Murwai project has remained a non-starter since 2010-11.

Work on the Bandgaon-Chaibasa stretch was stalled last year after road development secretary Rajbala Verma terminated the contract of Pune-based Patil Constructions allegedly over slow pace of work. Around Rs 80 crore was to be spent on widening and strengthening a 54km stretch that connects the state capital with Kolhan division headquarters Chaibasa via Chakradharpur.

“We are unable to invite a fresh tender to complete the work after the termination of the contract of Patil Constructions as the latter has moved court against the state government’s decision. The matter is sub-judice. The Pune-based company was able to work on only 17-18km,” MoRTH regional officer Sadre Alam told The Telegraph.

Renovation of the Parwa More-UP border leg of NH-75 is also progressing at a snail’s pace. Patil Constructions, the contractor of this project too, has cited seizure of their stone crusher plant by the forest department as the reason behind the delay. Around Rs 100 crore has been sanctioned for the 60km stretch.

Similar is the fate of Khunti-Bandgaon stretch of NH-75 (extension), which was awarded to one GVR Constructions.

The Garu-Murwai project in Naxalite-affected Latehar district is jinxed. Tenders have been invited for a record 17 times for developing the road, but all in vain.

“Not a single contractor showed interest to bid for the project. We even tried to break the Rs 40-crore project in parts, yet found no taker,” Alam revealed.

On the other hand, Mumbai-based Supreme Constructions had bagged the Sisai-Basia and Chakulia-Mathiani projects, which are yet to see the light of the day.


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