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Delay in funds release hits highways works
Even as the Ministry of Highways and Road Transport has declared 13 State Highways as National Highways in principle during the last three years, delay in release of funds have turned many of new and old NHs ‘death traps’, according to allegations made by people’s representatives.
Repair and maintenance works are not being undertaken properly by the National Highway Authority of India due to tardy release of funds. Earlier, driving on NHs were smooth as funds flow was smooth, viewed many.
For example, the Biramitrapur-Barkore stretch of the NH-143 has potholes at several places now for which accidents are happening frequently.
Similarly, the condition of the NH-49, running from Sambalpur to Jamsola, is not in a motorable condition now as per NHAI norms, alleged MLAs from Keonjhar and Mayurbhanj. As accidents are occurring often on this NH, local citizens, including BJP party leaders, have already met the authorities and demanded urgent repair of the NH.
The Union Government had decided to make this stretch four-lane. The tender for the work was given to a firm called Monte Carlo.
The company is busy felling trees from the roadsides for months now and the NHAI have stopped repairing the road.
At least four people have been killed and 45 injured in road accidents on the highway under the Sadar police limits in the last few weeks. Similarly, 17 accidents occurred under the Kanjipani police limits killing five and inuring 25 persons.
It takes more than 3 hours to cross the 20-km Kanjipani Ghat stretch instead of 30 minutes earlier. Frequent traffic jam also adds to the misery of travelers.
The people’s representatives have time and again brought this to the notice of the Commerce and Transport Minister.
Similar are the conditions of the NH stretch between Chandikhole to Talcher, NH-53, NH-520 stretch from Remuli to Rajamunda as repair and maintenance are not being taken up due to poor funds flow. The SHs which were declared NH include Kuakhia-Jajpur-Aradi-Satabhya SH as NH 20, Cuttack-Jagatisnghpur-Balikuda-Nuagaon SH as NH-55 in 2015. But till date no development has been taken up.
Out of 13 SHs declared NH, DPRs for eight have been submitted to the MoRTH. While the Ministry has not taken any decision yet, the State authorities are not taking up any improvement work on these roads.
The State Government had recommended 30 SHs covering 2,480 kms to the Ministry for to declare them NH during 2016.
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