ROURKELA: Finally, piling works began for construction of six-lane second Brahmani bridge at Balughat here after considerable delay. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who had announced to complete the National Highway (NH)-143 upgradation project from Biramitrapur to Rajamunda, including second Brahmani bridge, in April 2015, had to face criticism both from BJP and Opposition after the project got delayed.
NHAI sources said a few days back, piling work on the bridge had started and they foresee no further hurdle ahead. The project would be completed in 30 months. The fresh development has saved the NDA Government from further embarrassment as disgruntled BJP MLA of Rourkela Dilip Ray had threatened stir from June. In January, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had expressed willingness to complete the bridge project soon.
Hyderabad-based GKC Project Limited has bagged the first package from Birmitrapur to Rourkela, including the new bridge, at a cost of Rs 382 crore. Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari, who laid the foundation stone on July 21, 2017, had asserted that the work will start in 15 days. Sources said the issue of ‘Appointed Date’ is mandatory for NHAI to start work. The Ministry of Environment and Forest had given the forest clearance in the first week of May and a fortnight later, the NHAI issued ‘Appointed Date’ to GKC to pave the way for construction activities.
However, still there is a hurdle as a section of prospective land oustees at Dandiapali are opposing the approach road for the bridge. Last month, Union Tribal Affairs Minister Jual Oram, shifting responsibility on the BJD Government, had asked it to clear the approach roads on both sides.
A senior NHAI official said the highway authorities have offered attractive land values for the approach road and the required amount has already been deposited with the Land Acquisition Cell of the district administration. He said the second package from Brahmani bypass to Rajamunda section has been bagged by RKD Construction Pvt Ltd at a cost of nearly `580 crore, while the third package from Rajamunda to Barkote has been awarded to Gayatri Projects Ltd at a cost of nearly `480 crore. The NHAI is likely to issue letters for “Appointed Date” after monsoon following which work on both packages would start immediately, he added.