ROURKELA : Inordinate delay in implementation of two key infrastructure projects announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has become a headache for two heavyweight BJP leaders in Sundargarh district.
Union Tribal Affairs Minister and Sundargarh MP Jual Oram and Rourkela MLA Dilip Ray continue to be under opponents’ attack for the delay in implementation of four-laning of NH-143 (old NH 23) including construction of second Brahmani bridge and upgradation of the RSP-run Ispat General Hospital into Super Speciality Hospital and Medical College.
After recent protest over Brahmani bridge, Jual accompanied by Union Minister of State for Petroleum Dharmendra Pradhan on Monday met Union Minister to the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways (MoRT&H), Nitin Gadkari.
Oram told this paper that Gadkari assured to start work by April after completing the tender process for the NH 143 four-lane project from Birmitrapur to Rajamunda in three next months. Jual said Gadkari also assured to six-lane the second Brahmani bridge under a broader modified plan, adding the second bridge would be taken up in a separate package to avoid further delay.
Incidentally, the NH-143 project with provisions of four-laning from Birmitrapur to Rajamunda (76 kms) and two-laning from Rajamunda to Barkote (about 50 kms) was included in the National Highway Development Project in 2005-06. Spadework had started in July 2011, but the NHAI Concessionaire pulled out of the project in January 2014 without any progress.
After Gadkari’s intervention on July 9, 2015, the NHAI prepared a revised detailed project report several months later to four-lane the entire 126 kms stretch and construct two-lane new Brahmani bridge parallel to the existing one on engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) mode. After floating of online tender on March 1 this year, the financial bid for the first package of nearly `851 crore covering Birmitrapur to Rajmunda and new bridge was supposed to open in middle of September.
However, that has not been done so far despite NHAI officials confirming that the financial bid would be finalised shortly.
Jual and Dilip had several times met Gadkari and the then Union Minister for Steel, NS Tormar and the latter’s successor, Choudhury Birendra Singh over the two delayed projects. Dilip also met the Prime Minister who had announced the two projects on April 1, 2015.
Miffed at the IGH issue, Dilip had boycotted the visit of Tomar during BJP’s Vijay Utsav in May, while he recently expressed displeasure over the delay in NH project. Yet, after Gadkari’s assurance he thanked Modi, Jual and Dharmendra.