MALKANGIRI: Ten years and cost overrun to nearly Rs 100 crore but the 45 km road project from Govindpalli junction to the Maoist-dominated Mahupadar village in Mathili block is yet to take shape. Meanwhile, the contractor agency has sought a seventh extension.
The project is being executed by Roads and Building Division. Construction work of the road project was awarded to Hyderabad-based IVRCL Ltd with an agreement value of nearly Rs 74.49 crore on November 15, 2011. It was supposed to be completed on May 14, 2014. However, the firm failed to stick to the deadline. It was a project under the Integrated Action Plan, a flagship programme of the then UPA government at the Centre for LWE affected districts of the country.
The AP-based firm has completed construction of only 31 km stretch in last 10 years, causing widespread resentment among locals. A bridge at Chikabaka on the road is yet to be also constructed. The delay is attributed to Maoist threat and non-availability of materials. This is when Odisha Police has claimed to have made serious inroads into the Maoist heartland in Malkangiri district.
The firm was sanctioned the first extension of time (EoT) up to June 2015, followed by a second till December 2018, third up to March 2019, fourth up to June 2020 and fifth till December last year.
In December 2018, an agreement was signed between Chief Engineer, Design Planning and Investigation and Road CE (DPI & Roads), Bhubaneswar and IVRCL Ltd to subcontract the work to Ameva Associates with an extended period up to March 2019.
After successive EoTs, the sub contractor sought a sixth extension and was even allowed the same up to June 2021. However, it couldn’t complete the project and has again sought extension up to January 2022, informed sources in the R&B office.
Contacted, executive engineer of R&B Division, Malkangiri Subash Chandra Patra blamed Maoist threat and non-availability of raw materials for the delay in completion of the road project. He admitted that Ameva Associates has sought EoT for the seventh time up to January next year.
Terming the plea of Maoist threat as incorrect, villagers of Mahupadar blamed the district officials and Ameva Associates for the inordinate delay. “Even after 10 years, the road is still a dream for us. We urge the government to take action against the firm and officials for the delay,” said Arjun Bhumia of Mahupadar. Former Congress MP from Nabarangpur Pradeep Majhi alleged a nexus between district officials and the AP-based firm nexus for the delay. The government needs to probe into the delay, he added.