The widening of NH-33, linking Jamshedpur with Ranchi and connecting Jharkhand with Odisha and Bengal, is expected to be completed by the end of this year, but without the underpasses.
According to sources in the National Highways Authority of India’s (NHAI) regional office in Ranchi, widening work on the 160km stretch of NH-33, which was halted in the middle of 2018, has gained momentum, but the construction of underpasses near Jamshedpur and Chandil will be delayed further.
Private concessionaire Madhucon Projects had stopped work on the 160km stretch citing financial issues.
Hyderabad-based Madhucon Projects had bagged the Rs 1,479-crore contract and started work in January 2013. It was meant to complete the project by June 2016, but failed to do so.
“Now, work on all the four stretches undertaken by three different agencies in May-June 2019 has gathered pace. At the moment, more than 60 per cent of road widening has been completed. However, the construction of underpasses near Pardih and along Dimna roundabout is yet to begin. Even the land acquisition process, required for the construction of the underpasses, hasn’t been completed. Considering the three months of monsoon between July and September, it seems the underpasses won’t be completed by the stipulated deadline of November-December this year,” a senior official in NHAI, monitoring the Jamshedpur stretch of NH-33, told The Telegraph.
According to the work order, the three agencies have to complete the widening work by November 2020.
Ranchi-based Ram Kripal Construction is widening the 26.30km stretch between Vikas Vidyalaya and Rampur (both in Ranchi) and the 16km stretch between Chowka and Saherbera (both in Seraikela-Kharsawan) at a cost of Rs 196 crore.
A joint venture between Calcutta’s Bharat Vanijiya Eastern Limited and Guwahati’s Bharatia Infra Project has been engaged on the 77.30km stretch between Rampur (Ranchi) and Chowka at a cost of Rs 351 crore.
Ahmedabad-based Iron Triangle is constructing the 44.20km stretch between Saherbera (Seraikela-Kharsawan) and Mohulia (near Jamshedpur) at a cost of Rs 380 crore.
According to the plans submitted by the NHAI to the Union environment and forest ministry, five underpasses will come up along the 15km stretch between Saherbera and Pardih Chowk.
“The underpasses (an underground tunnel for crossing a road) was necessary to prevent man-animal conflict along elephant corridor and help elephants pass through the corridor without coming on to the NH-33. However, construction of the underpasses has not yet begun. This apart, an elevated road will also come up along Dimna Chowk (in Mango, Jamshedpur). We have asked the administration to complete the necessary land acquisition work. As of now, it appears that the underpasses and elevated road will be delayed,” NHAI (Jharkhand) regional officer Vijay Srivastava said.
The regional officer, however, sounded confident about the completion of the road widening work by November this year.
“Work is going on at a brisk pace all along the NH-33 between Jamshedpur and Ranchi. Laying of bituminous layer and trench work will be completed before monsoon. We are monitoring the progress and the NH-33 widening looks set to meet the deadline of November 2020,” Srivastava added.