'Concrete' plan for Shiradi Ghat road may go awry

'Concrete' plan for Shiradi Ghat road may go awry

Concreting works on 250-km to 263-km stretch behind schedule

Works on the second phase of Shiradi Ghat road development on Mangaluru-Bengaluru National Highway-48, which was scheduled to commence in the first week of January, is unlikely to start as per plan.

Even as authorities have announced the dates alerting public to brace for the likely closure of Shiradi Ghat for the concreting work, the contractor has not expedited the project, leaving the officials baffled.

The work has to be taken up on the Bengaluru-Mangaluru NH-48 from 250 km, near Kempuhole bridge, to 263 km near Addahole bridge. The first phase of concretisation works up to 250.62 km were completed, last year. The stretch between Kempuhole and Addahole is in a pathetic condition and is ridden with potholes, causing inconvenience to road users.

Incomplete drain work
National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) awarded the project on contract to GVR Infra Project Private Limited at a cost of Rs 90.27 crore on November 6, 2015. Though a decision was taken to close the road for traffic to enable the contractor to expedite works, only 50% of roadside drains have been constructed, so far. Experts say concreting works cannot be initiated till roadside drain works are completed.

The delay forced Dakshina Kannada MP Naveen Kumar Kateel, Deputy Commissioner, Principal Secretary for Public Works Department Lakshminarayan and other officers to visit the spot and issue a warning to the contractor. Though three months have elapsed, the contractor has not taken any measures to hasten works.

Authorities had already announced that Shiradi Ghat would be closed for traffic from November 15 but they are now in a spot as it got postponed to December 1 and then to December 20 and finally to January 3.

Contractor warned
PWD Principal Secretary Lakshminarayan had earlier issued a stern warning to the contractor that he would have to pay a heavy price if the 46 drains on the stretch are not completed by November 20, 2016. The works, however, continue at a snail’s pace, complained Sanjith Shetty, president, Shiradi Raste Ulisi Horata Samiti.

Meanwhile, NHAI Superintending Engineer Raghavan has issued a statement that a meeting of district-in-charge ministers, MPs, MLAs, deputy commissioners and SPs of Hassan and Dakshina Kannada will soon be convened to discuss the date of closure of Shiradi Ghat and to initiate concreting works on the stretch.