GUWAHATI, Aug 7 - Though the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) was entrusted with the responsibility of construction of the East West Corridor in Assam from Srirampur to Silchar, the progress slowed down due to various reasons and around 32 kilometres of it is yet to be completed. However, steps have been initiated to expedite the work and the contracts of two of the contractors have been terminated because of their failure to perform as per the expectation.
NHAI sources told The Assam Tribune that the organization was given the task of construction of 636.669 km of the East West Corridor from Srirampur to Silchar via Bongaigaon, Nalbari, Guwahati, Nagaon, Daboka, Maibong and Jatinga. The entire work in the State was divided into 27 packages and so far, 604.523 km has been completed. Efforts are now on to complete the balance 32.146 km, out of which, 27 km is in Dima Hasao district.
Giving reasons for the slow progress of the work, NHAI sources revealed that at the
initial period, land acquisition was the most critical issue, which delayed the entire project. On its part, the Government of Assam also could not speed up the land acquisition process and the entire work slowed down considerably. The process of utility shifting, which include shifting of the electricity poles also took some time. Obtaining clearance from the Ministry of Environment and Forest also took some time as some portions of the East West Corridor went through the notified reserve forests.
Sources said that the law and order issues also created major problems, particularly in some parts of the State, while frequent bandhs also slowed down construction as it affected movement of materials.
The slowest progress was in Dima Hasao district because of law and order issues and landslides. The NHAI is constructing total 130.09 km of the East West Corridor in Dima Hasao district, out of which 104.31 km has been completed. Construction of the highway in Dima Hasao is not an easy task due to law and order problems, frequent bandhs, kidnapping, ban on transportation of construction materials, etc. Landslide, hill movement, slips failure and sinking have also affected the progress of work. Construction under five packages in the district were suspended due to serious law and order problems and fresh contracts were awarded only in 2011.
Some stretches of the national highway in Dima Hasao are badly affected or damaged due to landslide, hill movement, slip failure and sinking. The completed four-lane road has also been damaged in many stretches. There have been severe damages to the road formation and completed structures as well as pavements due to failure of the hill slopes, both on the hillside as well as valley side.
The stretch from Narimbanglo to Jatinga observed serious failures of hill slopes like landslides, sinking, upheaval and lateral movement has damaged already constructed road at several places. Presently these damaged stretch aggregating length is about 13 km. The methodology suggested by CRRI in adjacent package was used but that too didn�t sustain.
The stretch from Jatinga to Harangajao is severely affected by landslide, hill movement, slip failure and sinking. Some remedial measures have now been used to maintain the road, sources said.
NHAI sources said that considering into the gravity of problem of failure, the matter was discussed in a meeting of the Chief Minister and the Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways, and it was decided that the four-lane highway would be split into two parts, two lanes on existing alignment and two on a new alignment.