DIBRUGARH: Even after eight years, the four-lane work that has been ongoing in different stretches of the NH-37 in upper Assam remains unfinished, causing problems for the people. The Numaligarh-Jorhat section, spanning 39.7 km has achieved a physical progress of 97 percent, while the Jorhat-Jhanji section, covering 37.8 km has attained 40 percent physical progress.
The Jhanji-Demow section spanning 44 km has achieved 31 percent physical progress, the Demow-Moran section of 26.9 km has attained 17 percent physical progress, and the Moran-Bogibeel junction (Dibrugarh) section, covering 19.1 km has achieved 70 percent physical progress.
Due to the slow pace of work, NHIDCL terminated the contract with the original contractor, Gannon Dunkerley and Co Ltd, on April 8, 2022. Subsequently, fresh tenders were issued, and the contract was awarded to M/s Kamac Engineers and M/s Shiva Harlalka, a joint venture, on July 25, 2022.
NHIDCL had revised the completion date for the project at March 21, 2024. However, owing to the current progress, the anticipated completion date has been reset to July 28, 2024. Despite that it presents a considerable challenge, considering the substantial amount of work that remains to be accomplished within the next six months.
"It is very annoying that even after eight and half years, the works of the four-lane has not been completed. NHIDCL should take the responsibility of the sluggish pace of the work. Four-lane works has been undergoing in five districts of upper Assam and is one of the major road projects but even after eight and half years the works has not been completed. The four-lane project has become a 'money making machine' for the contractors and they are doing the works in a slow way to incurred the budget of the project," said Aboni Kumar Gogoi, AASU, Dibrugarh district president.
He said, "The Central government should take the matter seriously and remove the NHIDCL officials who are associated with the four-lane project. They are doing the work as per their wish because they are only answerable to the Centre. When, we questioned them about the sluggish work, they told us that materials have been stolen and due to scarcity of boulders in Assam, the project has been going slow. They give some lame excuses and try to 'befool' the people."
Local residents and commuters have expressed their anticipation for the timely completion of the four-lane highway. Ramakanta Gogoi, a local resident said, "The four-lane highway is important for the region's progress. The works are going on in a slow manner but the higher authority is not concerned about this issue. The question arise here why the project has been going slow? Nobody could give the answers. The department concerned is running a racket to earn more money from this project."
The project, which commenced with the laying of its foundation stone by Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari on May 1, 2015, has only achieved a physical progress of 30.96 per cent over the last eight and a half years. "We are aware of the urgency and the challenges ahead. Our teams are fully committed to accelerating the pace of work to ensure that the project is completed within the revised timeline," an NHIDCL official said.