Sunday, March 18, 2012

Silchar's Mahasadak Dream: still a farway away


A portion of the East West Corridor on NH 57 in Bihar.
Photo Courtesy: Wikipedia
The North South East West highway corridor connecting Silchar with Saurashtra and Kashmir with Kanyakumari was mooted by the Atal Bihari Vajpayee Government in 1999 to transform the road infrastructure of the interiors of the country.

The grand project was launched with much fanfare with the then cabinet minister Jaswant Singh coming to Silchar to formally inaugurate the construction works.  However, a decade down the line, the progress of the project in Assam has left a lot to be desired. Only three of the 17 packages connecting Silchar with Guwahati have been completed and the pace of construction is extremely slow.

The approximately 400 kilometre section connecting Silchar with Guwahati has been riddled with a plethora of problems right since the launch of the project. Initially, the administrations of all the districts through which the highway passes were extremely lethargic in acquiring the required land and settling the issues related to it. Continuous government red tape ensured that the contracts were awarded late and almost all the contractors took a lot of time to mobilize their men and equipments to start the work. 

The work for the first package of this stretch between Silchar and Udharbond began in September 2004, a good five years after the formal launch. Apart from the three completed, all the 14 packages between these two important locations are on a deadline missing spree. While work has begun for 13 of these packages, a 31 kilometre long package from Udharbond to Harangajao has not been awarded as the area falls within the Borail wildlife sanctuary and needs the nod of the forest authorities for any construction work.
A section of NH 75 between Gwalior and Jhansi, a part of the
North South Corridor,  Photo Courtesy: Wikipedia

Quite inexplicably, almost none of the public representatives from Barak Valley have made any effort to get the forest clearance to get the construction work started on this stretch. Till now, there is no clarity regarding the future of this corridor. The National Highway 54 (Extension) which passes though this stretch is in a terrible state with hardly any repair work being done since ages.

Recently, Silchar MLA Susmita Dev and Katigorah MLA Ataur Rehman Mazharbhuiya did take up this issue during the Budget session of the Assam Assembly. However, Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi did not even bother to reply to their grievances during his address.

The contractors of the other packages have continuously complained about the poor law and order situation in the Dima Hasao district. However, after the truce with the Dima Halam Daoga (Black Widow) faction, the situation has improved. Despite this positive move, the pace of construction has not improved to the desirable standards.

For example, the work on the 32 kilometre long Silchar – Udharbond section began in September 2004 with the contract going to infrastructure major Punj Lloyd. The work was supposed to be completed by September 2007. But the work has not been completed till today. Apparently, the contractor is all set to miss the June 2012 deadline also and has applied for an extension till 2014. The other packages are also in similar mess.

Not surprisingly, the pace of construction in the other parts of the country is much better. As of January 2012, 5,945 of 7,300 kilometres under this project have been completed. The entire project was pegged to cost US$12.317 billion at 1999 prices. One can only imagine how much the cost must have escalated in the last 13 years.

The three packages that have been completed are the Nagaon bypass and the stretches connecting Lumding with Daboka and Daboka with Lanka. The packages in Barak Valley and Dima Hasao are the ones which are getting constantly delayed. This is a reflection of the ineptness of our political leaders who have failed miserably to take up this issue at the state assembly and the parliament.

As per the official website of the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI), the renewed date of completion of this stretch is April, 2014. However, if the current pace of work is any indication, this deadline will also be missed. Till then, let us devote our energies in tackling the treacherous National Highway 44, which is our only option to reach the state capital.

PROGRESS OF THE CONSTRUCTION PACKAGES BETWEEN SILCHAR AND GUWAHATI

Package
Contractor
Distance
Status
Silchar – Udharbond (AS-1)
Punj Lloyd
32
In Progress
Udharbond – Harangajao (AS-14)
--
31
Contract yet to be awarded
Harangajao – Maibang (AS-21)
NKC-JKM (JV)
26
In Progress
Harangajao – Maibang (AS-22)
                                                   
NKC-JKM (JV)
24
In Progress
Harangajao – Maibang (AS-22)

Hindustan Construction Company Ltd.
16
In Progress

Maibang – Lumding (AS-27)

Gayatri-ECI (JV)
21
In Progress

Maibang – Lumding (AS-26)

Simplex Infrastructure
23
In Progress

Maibang – Lumding (AS-25)

Maytas Infra Ltd.
28
In Progress

Maibang – Lumding (AS-24)

NKC Projects Pvt. Ltd
15
In Progress

Lumding – Daboka ((AS-15))

Patel-KNR (JV)
18
Completed

Lanka – Daboka (AS-16)

Punj-Lloyd
24.032
Completed

Dabaka – Nagaon (AS-17)

Maytas Infrastructure
30.5
In Progress


Nagaon Bypass (AS-18)

Patel-KNR (JV)
23.663
Completed

Nagaon – Dharamtul (AS-2)

Madhucon Projects Ltd.
25
In Progress


Dharamtul – Sonapur (AS-19)

Maytas Infrastructure
25
In Progress


Dharamtul – Sonapur (AS-20)

KMC Construction Ltd
22
In Progress


Sonapur – Guwahati (AS-3)

Maheshwari Brothers Ltd.-Telecommunication Consultant India Ltd.
19
In Progress


* The above list has been compiled from the details available at www.nhai.org. Any inadvertent error is regretted. May recheck details from the NHAI website if necessary. 

5 comments:

  1. I have seen the progress on nagaon part... that is phenomenal... the real concern is the apathy towards this part of the country... budget after budget passes by without any appreciable development strategy... people understands very well about the stategic importance of the place... but still unwilling to connect it to the mainstream!!! silchar has been left aside as labour production camp, nothing else...

    ReplyDelete
  2. Chief Minister is the minister of all states. The Roads connecting Nowgaon is completed but not the road connecting Silchar. It is the responsibility of the CM to decide the road on priority basis when sufficient money is not ready to use. All these factors are needed to be considered. But again the people-desire no one can neglect. It is therefore most urgently required to create a situation for which the authority is bound to hear the people of the locality. Mere request when fails, a compulsion is a necessity for the fulfillment of the desire.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I think people of barak valley has tried everything using agitations,strikes.Now i think that a separate state demand should be made.This thing will surely shiver the attitude of guwahati.(i.e the capital of Assam).
    Or atleast using the opposition party and barak valleys representatives we need to agitate in Dispur,instead of silchar.
    Because there is a limit to suffer.Everyone want peace.But it can not be in the cost of our lives.
    Political bosses are expert in assuring false promises.An independent body should be there to look after the routine work going in the Silchar-Guwahati stretch of East West Corridor.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Benefits of independent body comprising of retired Civil,electrical engineers,retired Police Officers CAs....is that they will publish there finding in weekly basis in the local newspaper.

    In that update the
    stretch of road construction
    Amount of work
    People involved. etc should be there.So that the common man knows and is bound to pay attention to their basic right and basic need.


    The payment of these retired professionals can be done using donations from clubs,NGOs,Business firm.etc

    The reason is there is a huge amount of brain drain from Barak valley.Talented people are bound to work outside.

    ReplyDelete
  5. sure ,shoumya chandaMay 12, 2013 at 12:52 PM u r right

    ReplyDelete

Silchar through the Lense