DIBRUGARH, April 29 � After almost fifteen years since Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi raised the demand for a four lane national highway from Nagaon to Jairampur via Jorhat, Dibrugarh and Tinsukia, this has just remained a paper promise. Not an inch of four lane highway has been constructed beyond Nagaon in this period.
Big contractors like Mumbai � based Hindustan Construction Company (HCC) and the Spanish multinational, Isolux Corsan were allotted work orders in October last year for the construction of the four lane highway on the Numaligarh�Jorhat�Demow section, but these companies have not begun work. In fact, both these companies are looking for sub contractors to execute the works, but nothing much has developed.
Those in the know of affairs say it is common practice for the big contracting firms to garner work orders of high value contracts and then outsource these to smaller contractors and this way make a clean profit by not laying even a single brick themselves. This is because the four lane highway construction packages are worth at least Rs 450 crore each, and smaller contractors (this includes Assam�s biggest highway contractors) just do not meet the credential requirements to participate in the bidding process.
While no road contractor of Assam has been able to build up credentials to take part in the State�s four lane contract bids, firms like Gammon India, HCC and Isolux Corsan are gobbling up the work orders. So far so good. But these big contracting firms often are found wanting to actually execute construction works in Assam and elsewhere in the northeast. Where they do, they ensure that the completion time goes decades behind schedule. The new Saraighat bridge at Guwahati and the Bogibeel bridge at Dibrugarh are good examples.
For the Nagaon�Dibrugarh four lane highway, which is proposed to be constructed, the alignment would be via Kaliabor, Kaliabhomora bridge, Tezpur, Gohpur, then cross the Brahmaputra again near Biswanath Ghat, Numaligarh, Jorhat and Sivasagar. A new two lane carriageway road bridge will be constructed along the Kaliabhomora bridge. The Biswanath Ghat bridge tender is yet to be notified. The bridge along Kaliabhomora has been allotted to Gammon India. This firm too has sought local sub contractors for the seventeen kilometre approaches to the proposed bridge.