Sonowal sets September deadline for Gammon

Altertive bridge at Saraighat

By Our Staff Reporter

Guwahati, June 15: Piqued at the delay in construction of the second bridge coming up at Saraighat, Chief Minister Sarbanda Sonowal today instructed Gammon India to complete the project by September this year.

"If needed, the workers should work day and night to ensure that the bridge is completed by September," Sonowal, who visited the construction site and took stock of the progress, said.

"The bridge should have been completed in 2010. Students, patients and the general public have been facing immense hardships due to the traffic congestion on the existing Saraighat bridge," the CM, who was accompanied by senior officials of the NHAI, PWD (NH) and Gammon India, said.

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

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 50 percent.

Despite being prodded by both 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 other states. The Bihar government has blacklisted it, while a number of state governments have slapped notices on it over delays of projects and substandard work. Mysteriously, the company has bagged one more important project in Assam - the altertive bridge parallel to the Koliabhomora bridge in Tezpur.

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