SILCHAR, March 22 - Despite umpteen assurances of early completion of the long awaited Silchar-Saurashtra East West corridor via Dima Hasao district, clouds of uncertainty is still hovering over the dream project of the people of Barak Valley.
The last date for opening of the tender was March 21 but even that had to be deferred because of administrative redtapism. The vexed issues have also disappointed the contractors who have lost interest in taking up assignments as well.
However, according to the officials of National Highways and Infrastructure Development Construction Limited (NHIDCL), the NOC on the Forest and Environment clearance is posing a major hindrance towards the completion of the project. The officials are hopeful that since tender has been called, the long awaited project will soon see the light of the day.
It may be mentioned that the foundation stone for the East West corridor was laid in 2004.
Over the years, though there has been significant progress, but the controversial 31 kms of road from Balachora to Harengajao on the Borail Hill range remained a debatable issue so far mainly because of necessary environmental clearance.
Speaking on the developments, Cachar Deputy Commissioner S Viswanathan said that out of the 31 kms, 25 kms 250 meter falls within the administrative purview of Cachar district administration. �We have no issues of any NOC now. But there are complexities with the portion lying within Dima Hasao.
On the other hand, project director of NHIDCL Sanjiv Jain said �the tender call was augmented eyeing a solution to the burgeoning problems on the Dima Hasao portion of the road stretch. Central Government has also taken a proactive stance towards completing the task at the earliest possible period. But due to financial and administrative loopholes, the opening of tenders had to be rescheduled on March 28.� He was not ready to buy the argument that contractors are reluctant to accept assignments. Interestingly, the tender has been called for 25.250 kms work within Cachar district. Questions have been raised on the decision to call partial tender regarding which the project director had no satisfactory replies before the media.
Cachar Deputy Commissioner has however said that because of the impasse, a plan was made for two-lane road on the 31 kms road stretch to ease the passenger traffic towards Guwahati from Silchar. But with the tender for four-lane roadway, things became difficult.
Meanwhile, PWD Minister Parimal Suklabaidya has claimed that the requisite clearance for the road falling within the administrative territory of Dima Hasao has been obtained.� The completion of the much awaited project shall not be deterred by anything now. Once the papers reach the concerned department, the efforts to wrap up the work shall be accelerated,� the Minister maintained.