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NHIDCL terminates another contract

By Rituraj Borthakur

GUWAHATI, March 2 - The jinx over four-laning of National Highway 37 continued with the National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation (NHIDCL) terminating another contract with a firm due to poor performance.

The NHIDCL has terminated the contract with M/s Atlanta Ltd for four-laning of the NH37 from end of Moran Bypass to Bogibeel (20km). Their bank guarantee of around Rs 30 crore has been encashed, sources said. The firm is also learnt to have lost a legal battle with the NHIDCL.

Sources said the firm was appointed for the work in August, 2016 and was able to complete only 8 per cent of the work till last month.

This is the third contract for four-laning of the NH37 to be terminated by NHIDCL.

Earlier, Spanish firm Corsan Corvium SA had lost its contract for four-laning of the 44-km Jhanji-Demow stretch and the 37.8-km Jorhat-Jhaji stretch due to slipshod work. The firm had to forfeit 10 per cent of the project cost in both the cases. These two sections have now been awarded to M/s GDCL in January last after floating fresh tenders.

Progress in the Numaligarh-Jorhat stretch (39 km) is also very poor. Though the target was to achieve 30 per cent work in January, 2017, till last month only 9 per cent of the work has been achieved.

Sources said the contractors awarded the four-laning works are unable to mobilize resources due to financial issues post demonetization. Some firms have also sought revision of the estimates for the projects.

Meanwhile, the NHIDCL is in the process of awarding maintenance contracts to local firms to keep the highway in motorable shape as a stopgap arrangement. �There should be visible changes before monsoons,� an NHIDCL official said. There has been a lot of criticism over the condition of NH37, particularly between Numaligarh and Dibrugarh.

The NHIDCL is currently executing 3,170 km of road and bridges works in the State. The total cost of these projects is estimated at Rs 55,501 crore.

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