41-km stretch of Berhampur-Taptapani road yet to be completed

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Berhampur: Tardy progress of work on the 41-km Berhampur-Taptapani Road in Ganjam district appeared to have irked people as the Rs 82 crore project was taken up over six years ago.

“Accidents are regularly reported on this stretch and the road work needs to be completed as soon as possible,” said former Chairman of Digapahandi Notified Area Council (NAC) Hruday Ranjan Mekap.

The Rs 82-crore work was taken up in November, 2008 under the World Bank-funded Orissa State Road Project to improve the state highway, connecting Berhampur with Taptapani, a tourist destination.

The delay has escalated the project cost to Rs 87 crore, officials said.

“Work on 30 km of the 41-km stretch has been completed,” said Executive Engineer of the project Binod Das.

He attributed the delay to hurdles in land acquisition, payment of compensation to land losers, termination of contract and floating of fresh tender.

“Land for the project have been acquired in 28 of 31 villages so far. The process could not be completed in Digapahandi, Lanjia and Gokarnapur following some disputes,” officials said.

“Family and title disputes, besides cases, including endowment, pending in courts, have hampered the progress of the project,” said Land Acquisition Officer, A K Das.

“We couldn’t provide compensation to some land losers following a directive from additional commissioner of endowment,” Das added.

The contractor has sought time till December. The firm was given June deadline though the work was to be completed in January.

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