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NH repair and four-laning: NHIDCL cracks whip

By Rituraj Borthakur
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GUWAHATI, July 24 - Faced with growing public anger over the deteriorating condition of the National Highway 37, the National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation has started cracking the whip, terminating the contract with a Spanish firm and initiating proceedings to blacklist it and slapping notices of termination on three other contracting firms.

The contract with Corsan Corvium SA, which bagged the four-laning work of the 37.8-km Jorhat-Jhanji portion of the highway, has been terminated. While proceedings are on to blacklist it, the Spanish firm had to forfeit 10 per cent of the project cost. The estimated cost of the project is Rs 437.39 crore. Fresh tenders will be called for the work.

NHIDCL Executive Director (Project) Ajay Ahluwalia said three other contracts have been recommended for termination � the four-laning of 44-km Jhanji-Demow section (also awarded to Corsan Corvium), 26.9-km Demow to Moran bypass (awarded to Gannon Dunkerley Pvt Ltd) and 19-km Moran bypass to Bogibeel junction (awarded to Atlanta Ltd). Two of the firms have already received notices of termination.

The four-laning work from Nagaon to Dibrugarh had been divided into eight sections.

Ahluwalia said the repair and maintenance of the road to keep it traffic-worthy subsequent to award of the four-laning work was the responsibility of the contractors.

�We found damages in several stretches of the highway and notices were given to the contractors in January last to repair those within a month�s time. But the response was cold. We decided to do it on our own at the risk and cost of the contractors. Tenders were called and by the time the repair works were given, the rains started. But we hope to complete the major repair by August 15,� Ahluwalia told The Assam Tribune.

Sources in the NHIDCL said over the past several years, the government did not sanction any major repair work on the Nagaon-Dibrugarh stretch on the pretext that the four-laning was in pipeline. This led to further deterioration of the highway, referred to as the lifeline of the State.

Corsan Corvium was awarded the Jorhat-Jhanji four-laning work in November, 2014 and it began work in January, 2015. It was also awarded the Jhanji-Demow stretch during the same time, and work progress till July 15 is just 0.76 per cent, though it was supposed to complete more than half of the work by November this year according to the contract agreement.

An official NHIDCL report says the progress of four-laning of the Demow to Moran, being executed by Gannon Dunkerley Pvt Ltd, is also �negligible�. Progress of work on the Moran-Bogibeel section is just 1.34 per cent, though the work started about a year back. The work on the Rangapara-Kaliabor stretch has not yet started due to land acquisition hurdles near the Misa army camp.

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NH repair and four-laning: NHIDCL cracks whip

GUWAHATI, July 24 - Faced with growing public anger over the deteriorating condition of the National Highway 37, the National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation has started cracking the whip, terminating the contract with a Spanish firm and initiating proceedings to blacklist it and slapping notices of termination on three other contracting firms.

The contract with Corsan Corvium SA, which bagged the four-laning work of the 37.8-km Jorhat-Jhanji portion of the highway, has been terminated. While proceedings are on to blacklist it, the Spanish firm had to forfeit 10 per cent of the project cost. The estimated cost of the project is Rs 437.39 crore. Fresh tenders will be called for the work.

NHIDCL Executive Director (Project) Ajay Ahluwalia said three other contracts have been recommended for termination � the four-laning of 44-km Jhanji-Demow section (also awarded to Corsan Corvium), 26.9-km Demow to Moran bypass (awarded to Gannon Dunkerley Pvt Ltd) and 19-km Moran bypass to Bogibeel junction (awarded to Atlanta Ltd). Two of the firms have already received notices of termination.

The four-laning work from Nagaon to Dibrugarh had been divided into eight sections.

Ahluwalia said the repair and maintenance of the road to keep it traffic-worthy subsequent to award of the four-laning work was the responsibility of the contractors.

�We found damages in several stretches of the highway and notices were given to the contractors in January last to repair those within a month�s time. But the response was cold. We decided to do it on our own at the risk and cost of the contractors. Tenders were called and by the time the repair works were given, the rains started. But we hope to complete the major repair by August 15,� Ahluwalia told The Assam Tribune.

Sources in the NHIDCL said over the past several years, the government did not sanction any major repair work on the Nagaon-Dibrugarh stretch on the pretext that the four-laning was in pipeline. This led to further deterioration of the highway, referred to as the lifeline of the State.

Corsan Corvium was awarded the Jorhat-Jhanji four-laning work in November, 2014 and it began work in January, 2015. It was also awarded the Jhanji-Demow stretch during the same time, and work progress till July 15 is just 0.76 per cent, though it was supposed to complete more than half of the work by November this year according to the contract agreement.

An official NHIDCL report says the progress of four-laning of the Demow to Moran, being executed by Gannon Dunkerley Pvt Ltd, is also �negligible�. Progress of work on the Moran-Bogibeel section is just 1.34 per cent, though the work started about a year back. The work on the Rangapara-Kaliabor stretch has not yet started due to land acquisition hurdles near the Misa army camp.