From our Staff Correspondent
Dibrugarh, July 21: Inordinate delay and heavy cost overrun in the construction of Bogibeel bridge have earned criticism from observers.
The work on the bridge that started on April 21, 2002 with an estimated cost of Rs 1,700 crore is still running behind schedule. The former Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee had announced that the structure would be completed by 2008 after inaugurating it.
Declared a National Project later, it crossed its deadline for completion and is now expected to be completed in March, 2015. Moreover, the cost of construction has escalated to Rs 3,23,002 crore.
According to sources, Rs 2162.02 crore have been spent till April 2011. The original plan was to construct 37 well foundations in the bridge but the number increased by five, after the length of the structure was increased by 625 meters. The tender for the sub-structure was awarded to Gammon India Limited and it has completed 32 wells and 18 piers. The company is expected to fulfill its commitment by June 2013. The work of the superstructure was given to the consortium of Hindustan Construction Company (HCC)-DSD-VNR. The contract was awarded in November last year. As per the schedule, it is expected to be completed by April 2015.
The preliminary work was started by the consortium but the recent flood has apparently washed away most of it. Therefore, there are doubts whether the superstructure will come up by the date announced.
The south and north guide bunds and approach embankment up to south and north abutment, besides the dykes of the river was raised and strengthened upto 9 km on upstream and 7 km on downstream in 2010.
The observers, however, expressed apprehension by saying that it would not be possible to complete the bridge even by 2015, if the Union Railway Ministry, as alleged, continues to give a step motherly treatment to the project and shows reluctance to release the requisite fund needed for its execution within the scheduled period.