Friday, December 18, 2009

Naxalite fear leaves important NH 75 in shambles

The highway is in dilapidate condition as it passes through the naxal infested but mining rich Chaibasa and Chakradharpur belt in West Singhbhum to the borders of Orrisa. Government officials blame naxals for causing fear among contractors.

CJ: Anbwesh Roy.. Wed, Dec 16, 2009 17:24:10 IST

Development the only way to combat Naxals The National Highway (NH) 75 that connects Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh to Parsora (Keonjhar) in Orrisa, 1175 kilometers, through Jharkhand, 447 kilometers, lies in a depleted state between Ranchi- Chaibasa- Chakradharpur- Parsora.

The highway is in dilapidate condition as it passes through the naxal infested but mining rich Chaibasa and Chakradharpur belt in West Singhbhum to the borders of Orrisa.

The 30 kilometers stretch between Chaibasa and Chakradharpur, which falls under the purview of the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI), of that would ideally take 25 to 30 minutes to cover, now with craters and muddy stretches takes an easy one-hour or more.

The dusty highway to hell will be the most used roads by political parties to fruitfully complete their last leg of campaigning in the rural parts of the district headquarter, Chaibasa assembly seat, in the fifth phase of polls on December 18.

Sadly while driving down the stretch between the Chaibasa and Chakardharpur, barring the scenic beauty, one will find waiting road rollers, empty tar drums, unused stone chips and boards reading drive carefully, bridge in damaged state
Government officials blame naxals for causing fear among contractors and always threatening to use force if work begins on the 30-kilometer stretch.

"The NHAI has floated tenders for the improvement of the highway but contractors don't take heed fearing that naxalites would take penalizing action and also demand huge levies which they cannot cope up to," said Vijay Kumar, engineer-in-chief of the state road construction department adding that in the past there have been violence towards contractors due to which work was stopped.

He also added that the State road construction department and the Union Government are in constant discussion to improve the condition of the highway but also worried about the growing threat form extremists.

As the government blames naxalites for the stalled work on the 30-kilometer stretch of the NH 75 contractors are no less in producing financial obstacles.
"There are some contractors who are demanding more than the sanctioned budget. The NHAI cannot step down to such irrational demands," said Kumar adding that the Union ministry moreover doesn't clear cases exceeding 5 percent of the financial bid.

Most road authorities believe that after a stabled government is formed in the state the situation would be better and road constructions can resume. Kumar added that there are no lacunae on the part of the State and the Union and that both are in constant discussion to improve the condition of NH 75 from Ranchi - Chaibasa - Orrisa.

As India grows in infrastructure Jharkhand seems to be the late wheel on the road to development. Chaibasa and its neighboring district Saraikela- Khrasawan have seen negligible work being done in their respective national and state highways.

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