GUWAHATI, Oct 11 - The construction of the East-West Corridor project in Assam was delayed due to various reasons like law and order, delay in land acquisition, etc, but major portions of the project are likely to be completed by March next year.
Meanwhile, construction of the second bridge over the Brahmaputra near the Saraighat Bridge here is also delayed and is likely to be completed by the middle of next year.
Highly placed sources in the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) told The Assam Tribune that construction of the four-lane East-West Corridor from Srirampur to Silchar via Dima Hasao district should have been completed by 2009. But now, the project is likely to be completed by March next year, barring a few patches in Dima Hasao.
The total length of the road is 637 kms, of which 577 kms have been completed. Heavy landslide is posing a problem in a portion within Dima Hasao district, while land acquisition process in one portion within the district is yet to be completed. The total cost of the project was originally estimated to be Rs 6,000 crore, but now the revised cost estimate is Rs 6,800 crore, obviously due to price escalation.
Giving reasons for the delay in construction of the highway, NHAI sources said that several reasons can be attributed to the abnormal delay in implementation of the mega project.
One of the reasons cited was the law and order situation, as construction work in Dima Hasao had to be suspended for a long period after the workers and contractors came under frequent attack from the militants. The second major cause for slow progress of work was due to problems related to land acquisition. Though the project was cleared way back in 2005, even after ten years, the land acquisition process for the entire stretch of land has not been completed. Shortage of construction material, very short working season in the State, etc., are some other major reasons for the slow progress of work.
Same is the case in regard to construction of the second bridge over the Brahmaputra near the Saraighat bridge. The bridge should have been completed by 2012-13, but now it is expected to be completed only in the middle of next year. The original cost of the three-lane bridge was Rs 238 crore, while it is now estimated to entail an expenditure of atleast Rs 350 crore for completion of the same. The completion of the bridge, it is expected, will ease traffic congestion on the Saraighat bridge to a great extent.
NHAI sources said that the change of design and slow progress of land acquisition had delayed construction of the bridge, while shortage of construction material also affected the pace of work. Sources said that the pace of construction picked up during the last six months or so, and the NHAI officials are closely monitoring the construction work. Moreover, regular meetings are being held with the contractors to ensure that the pace of construction is expedited, sources added.