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Gammon under scanner for delay, cost overrun

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  3 May 2016 12:00 AM GMT

Saraighat bridge II

By Our Staff Reporter

Guwahati, May 2: Businessman Anda Saikia of Mangaldai has to travel to Guwahati frequently. And every time he visits the city, he ensures he has a cushion time of one hour for the journey due to the ever-growing traffic congestion at the Saraighat bridge.

“You never know when you get stuck there. At times, one is stranded for hours together,” he rued.

Same is the case with TET teacher Minoti Das who travels from Jalukbari to her school at Hajo every day.

“We have to reach school by 8.30 am. Under normal circumstances, we reach well ahead of time if we board a bus at 7 am. But sometimes, even if you start at 6 am, you reach late due to the traffic congestion from the newly constructed Jalukbari flyover to the Hajo diversion,” she said, adding, “The headmaster has stopped believing us as we face the problem almost every day. Now we click pictures of the jam in our mobile phones and show it to him.”

As commuters continue to face a harrowing time passing the stretch of the road from Amingaon to Jalukbari across the 54-year old Saraighat bridge, construction firm Gammon India has come under scrutiny for repeatedly putting off the target date of completing construction of the second bridge it is building parallel to Saraighat bridge.

Work at the second bridge had started way back in October, 2006. The initial target date for completing the project was April, 2010. It is part of the NHAI’s East-West Corridor.

Ten years have elapsed, but it appears that the bridge in unlikely to be completed even next year.

As a result of the delay, the project is facing heavy cost escalation. From the initial estimate of Rs 238.14 crore, the project cost now has jumped to Rs 346 crore, a rise of nearly fifty percent.

Despite being prodded repeatedly both by the State government and the Railways - which looks after the Saraighat bridge – Gammon India has failed to fast-track the project.

The civil engineering construction company headquartered in Mumbai has been under scrutiny in various states of the country. The Bihar government has blacklisted it, while a number of other state governments have slapped notices on it over project delays and substandard work.

Mysteriously, the company has bagged one more important project in Assam – the altertive bridge parallel to Kaliabhomora in Tezpur.

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