Electric poles at the construction site on Adityapur-Kandra road. Picture by Animesh Sengupta
Electric poles are proving to be a major hurdle in the smooth and speedy execution of the ambitious four-laned Adityapur-Kandra road in Seraikela-Kharsawan district, belying the hopes of the area’s industrialists and thousands of commuters.
Jharkhand Accelerated Road Development Company Limited (JARDCL), the project’s executing agency, said Jharkhand State Electricity Board (JSEB) had been “lethargic” about shifting electric poles from construction sites as a result of which heavy machinery could not be pressed into use, making road quality uneven.
The JSEB, on the other hand, claimed that the shifting of poles was being done “systematically” so that people and industrial units did not go without power.
Right now, a major part of the Rs 185-crore four-lane work — the total stretch is 15.1km — starting from Adityapur toll bridge to Kandra is complete, but the places where electric poles exist are in a semi-finished state.
The technical staff of JARDCL, which is an offshoot of Infrastructural Leasing and Financial Services (IL&FS), said the electric poles continued to pose serious threat to the safety of labourers, as well as the pace and quality of construction work.
“If there is an electric pole, workers have to move cautiously while compressing road materials. At a number of stretches, we have had to skip utilising the road-roller and other equipment to compress boulders, soil, stone chips, among others. The difference is visible,” said a technical official.
He added that under the circumstance, a “flawless road” was an impossibility.
Executive engineer of public works department (PWD), road construction, Sanjay Kumar Singh, when asked, also expressed his concern over the delay in shifting electric poles.
“Their not being shifted on time is definitely a matter of serious concern,” Singh said.
However, executive engineer, JSEB (Adityapur division) M.M. Singh claimed that shifting of the poles had been going on steadily.
“In any government organisation, work is carried out systematically, which takes time,” said the JSEB engineer.
He went on to make more claims. “We have finished 60 per cent of the pole shifting work. The rest will take about a month.”
He added that they were committed to supply power to Adityapur residents and industrial units.
“If we remove existing poles without installing the new ones, then work might speed up but people and industries of Adityapur will stay without power supply for over a month,” he said.