| A stretch of the under-construction service lane along Adityapur-Kandra Road last week. Picture by Animesh Sengupta
Call it divine intervention, albeit the wrong way.
Two temples have inadvertently halted completion of the Rs 185.5-crore Adityapur-Kandra Road a much-awaited artery between the industrial townships and Jamshedpur in the eleventh hour.
While the deadline for the four-lane project ends in April, construction of the service lanes has stopped because of encroachments that have religious sentiments attached to them, leaving road construction officials in a catch-22 situation.
Admitting the bottleneck, executive engineer (road construction) Sanjay Kumar Singh said: We can collect toll from a vehicle only when service lanes are ready. But, there are major encroachments in at least two points along a kilometre-long stretch in Gamharia.
He added that two decades-old temples one near Teachers Training Institute and another near the Gamharia Circle Office were delaying a solution to the problem. Jharkhand Accelerated Road Development Company Limited (JARDCL), the company constructing the service lanes, has stopped work near the temples.
Sources said that since religious sentiments were attached to the temples, which were more than two decades old, local residents were strongly opposed to their demolition for the service lanes.
Singh said that the district administration was serious about removing the hurdles, but had not been able to make much headway.
Seraikela-Kharsawan deputy commissioner K.N. Jha claimed they were holding regular meetings to find an alternative. Let the company finish the remaining work and by that time, we will have found a solution, Jha said.
Executive engineer Singh said there was an agreement between JARDCL and the road construction department that the latter would provide hindrance-free land for the project. If the department fails to provide such land well ahead of the deadline, the company will stop work after April 2013, he expressed concern.