Jalandhar: If facts are anything, the much-awaited six-laning project of the busy Amritsar-Jalandhar National Highway (NH-1) from Kartarpur to Dhilwan stretch has missed the deadline again owing to fund crunch, hence delay in construction and inconvenience to public.
Six-laning project of the busy Amritsar-Jalandhar National Highway (NH-1) from Kartarpur to Dhilwan stretch has missed deadline again
The Rs 342 crore project was scheduled to be completed in January 2016 but delay in construction of the 20 kilometer stretch of Kartarpur to Dhilwan has confined it to a major bottle neck. However, now the cost of the project would escalate further due to the increase in the construction material. The work on this stretch started in the year 2014.
Notably, the stretch from Bidhipur railway crossing upto Dhilwan in Kapurthala district was the main stretch connecting the two districts of Jalandhar and Amritsar.
Now, the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) officials have claimed that the project would be completed by the end of 2017 or early 2018. Even as the NHAI authorities have been claiming swift work, around 40 percent of the construction was yet to be completed.
The delay in the construction of this stretch has left the traders, particularly the Kartarpur furniture industry, the local shopkeepers and residents affected. A thick blanket of dust covers the entire stretch while scattered gravel and dust on the highway has been adding to the trouble of the commuters.
NHAI sources maintained that the construction work got delayed because of a new mode of payment introduced by the Union Ministry of Roads and Transport. Earlier the mode of payment was ‘Built Operate Transform’ (BOT).
Under the new system, the centre government has introduced ‘Engineering Procurement and Construction (EPC)’, where the company was supposed to construct a particular stretch of the highway and claim the expenses later.
However, earlier, funds were issued in advance before such construction works began. Sources maintained that Prime Minister Narendra Modi led NDA government at the centre implemented the new mode of payment, which has affected the construction work of many National Highways in the country. “The project would be completed by the end of this year”, the NHAI officials maintained.
Initially, it was a four laning project but considering the volume of vehicles crossing this highly busy stretch, the centre government converted it to six laning. “Ever since the project was converted to six laning, we have been facing huge losses in trade while the common man was badly affected too. Commuters also face difficulty in crossing this stretch while monsoons add to the misery of the common here”, said a group of shopkeepers whose shops were situated on the highway.
The shopkeepers also maintained that traffic remains blocked on this stretch on any given day. “Usually the traffic remains blocked for close to two hours on a stretch. Somehow, those on two-wheelers manage to make way, those in buses, cars and trucks gets blocked for more than three hours and the entire business on this highway gets affected”, the residents added.
For more news updates Follow and Like us on Facebook