ROURKELA: While the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has quietly extended the completion target for NH-143 expansion by another three months to September heaping untold misery on the commuters, the BJP is busy seeking credit for the highway works.Exuding optimism, BJP’s State spokesperson Dhiren Senapati said the promise made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi is going to fulfilled soon. The party hopes PM would inaugurate the NH-143 in September, he added.
Three days back, Sundargarh MP and former Union Minister Jual Oram led a delegation to inspect the six-lane second Brahmani bridge of NH-143 at Rourkela. He even drove through the bridge to send across the message that the bridge is almost complete.The social media team of the BJP also swung into action to amplify the party’s message with the accompanying video clip of the PM promising the second Brahmani bridge in April 2015.
Reliable sources said, after several revision, the completion target for NH-143 expansion from Birmitrapur to Rajamunda via Rourkela was set for June. Now, it is further pushed to September while there is no certainty on the remaining stretch of 37 km from Rajamunda to Barkote.
Even with the September date, they claimed, all works for the 88 km stretch from Birmitrapur to Rajamunda could not be completed. Major bridge and road laying works at Champajharan, Chandiposh and Saleidihi between Rourkela and Rajamunda are moving at a snail’s pace, while about 30 per cent works are yet to be completed between Rourkela and Birmitrapur.
Mantu Sahu, a daily commuter, said NH-143 works at Champajharan Chandiposh and Saleidihi are lingering for long and several other incomplete spots of the NH-143 have become death trap for commuters especially during night. Despite incessant movement of heavy and small vehicles, there are no proper signage, indication and lighting at road diversions which keep on changing frequently. Bumpy risky ride and intolerable dust pollution are inevitable, he added.
Despite repeated assurances of NHAI authorities, potholes and craters on the middle of the highway between Rourkela’s Hockey Square and Vedvyas Square continue to remain as they were a few years back.
Rourkela MLA Sarada Prasad Nayak lambasted the lackadaisical approach of NHAI for the continuing suffering of commuters.