SAMBALPUR/BARGARH:Formation of a hole in the middle of NH-6 at Brahmachari on Bargarh by-pass road on Friday morning triggered widespread resentment among locals.As per reports, passersby noticed the hole, about three feet in diametre, in the morning and alerted commuters plying on the NH. Subsequently, movement of heavy vehicles on the NH was stopped while smaller vehicles were allowed to ply on the other side of the road.
As the news spread, thousands of people rushed to the spot and staged protest alleging poor quality of road work. Members of Highway Users’ Forum also staged protest and stopped collection of toll at the gate on the NH. On being informed, Sub-Collector Biswajit Mahapatra, SDPO Nrupcharan Dansena, Bargarh IIC Rajkisor Mishra and officials of Ashoka Buildcon, the firm which has laid the 88 km stretch of the NH from Sambalpur to Bargarh/Chattisgarh border, reached the spot.
The NH stretch has been laid at a cost of `1,142 crore by Nashik-based Ashoka Buildcon. Though there have been numerous complaints of poor quality of work by the firm and work on the stretch is far from complete, Ashoka Buildcon has managed to obtain the completion certificate and is collecting hefty toll since the last three years.
Maintenance in-charge of the road, Umakanta Barik said the reason behind formation of the hole is yet to be ascertained. He said vehicles are being allowed to ply on one side of the four-lane road and repair work has already been initiated, he added.
While Friday’s incident has lent weight to the accusation of substandard work on the NH, it is taking political colours with the Biju Yuva Janata Dal (BYJD) planning to burn effigies of Union Minister for Highways Nitin Gadkari at Sambalpur, Giodbhaga, Attabira and Bargarh simultaneously over sub-standard work on the NH stretch.
Informing this, State working president of BYJD Sanjit Mohanty said though attention of the Project Director of NHAI over substandard work on the stretch has been drawn on numerous occasions, no action has yet been taken against Ashoka Buildcon. Accusing the NHAI of being hand in glove with Ashoka Buildcon, Mohanty said Gadkari should direct a CBI probe into the laying of the NH stretch.