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NH deadline set for another breach in Uttarakhand

Four years after the first deadlines in two NH projects missed, just around 65% work has been completed

dehradun Updated: Nov 13, 2017 21:00 IST
Sandeep Rawat
Sandeep Rawat
Hindustan Times
NH deadline,Uttarakhand,Gurukul Kangri-Singh Dwa
Construction material lying at a site near Gurukul Kangri-Singh Dwar on the Haridwar-Dehradun national highway.(Rameshwar Gaur /HT)

Despite assurances by chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat and urban development minister Madan Kaushik, the state government is unlikely to meet the November deadline for completion of the widening of Dehradun-Haridwar-Roorkee-Narsain National Highway.

The road widening work on the Haridwar-Dehradun NH project commenced on public private partnership (PPP) mode on November 1, 2011 and was scheduled to finish on October 30, 2013. Similarly, the four-lane work on the Haridwar-Muzaffarnagar NH commenced on September 3, 2010, and was scheduled to get over by February 28, 2013.

However, four years after the breach of deadlines in both the projects, just around 65% work has been completed.

At the time of assembly elections early this year, the BJP had made sluggish pace of the highway construction a major electoral issue in Haridwar district with its leaders claiming that if elected to power in the state, the “double engine” government will ensure completion of this project by November 2017.

Only three weeks are left for completion of the new deadline, but still more than 35% work of the project is still incomplete.

Last week, urban development minister Madan Kaushik, who represents Haridwar as legislator, had warned of filing FIR against the National Highway Authority officials if any accident occurs on Narsain (Haridwar)-Dehradun national highway owing to the project delay.

District magistrate Deepak Rawat, inspecting the four-lane work at Haridwar, said that NHAI has been asked to increase manpower and machinery to ensure time bound completion of the stretch, which has been posing problems for pilgrims, tourists and local people.

“Slow pace of work will not be tolerated further, regular monitoring will be done and daily basis report from NHAI officials and public works department (PWD) will be sought. Traffic congestion and accidents due to slow pace and haphazard construction work has been a major problem for past few years in Haridwar. Directives for putting up of signages and filling up of dug stretches and side barricading is being ensured from the concessionaire,” said Rawat.

Regarding shortage of adequate signages and precautionary steps not being taken by NHAI, the responsible officials have been served a written notice that why not a case be registered against them for mishaps occurring due to the highway construction work.

Social activist Ratan Mani Dobhal, who has filed several RTIs and decided to stage a sit-in against the delay in four-lane NH work, said that dozens of people have lost their lives, while many got injured due to irregular construction work on NH-58.

“Pilgrims are facing major inconvenience, so are local residents due to highway work going on for past six years. Besides, encroachments have again cropped up on land acquired for highway broadening work. Patchwork is still not being done, leading to accidents,” said Dobhal.

Project director NHAI PS Gusain cited financial problem, delay in land acquisition and shortage of construction material for the delay. He said patchwork and signage installation work is being done at danger points and zones.

Amita Ohri, headmistress of Maa Anandmayee Memorial School who commutes 15 km daily to the school at Raiwala from Sandesh Nagar, Kankhal, said it takes her 90-120 minutes to reach the school due to the under-construction road work.

First Published: Nov 13, 2017 20:59 IST