Tardy pace of road widening work in Ganjam district

Berhampur: Work for widening of the 41-km Berhampur-Taptapani road in Ganjam district of Odisha is moving at a slow pace.

The road work started in December 2008 under the World Bank-funded Orissa State Road Project (OSRP) and was scheduled to be completed in November 2010.

“The project cost too has escalated to Rs 97 crore following the delay. It was earlier estimated at Rs 80 crore,” Executive Engineer of the project A K Das said.

Das attributed the delay to land acquisition hurdles, shifting of electric pole and pipelines and change of contractors.

“The land has been acquired and pipelines and electric poles are being shifted. We hope to complete the road work by February 2016,” he said.

Widening work on 35-km stretch of the road has been completed, he added.

To widen the road, 51 acres in 34 villages were acquired and 1,355 trees felled. “We have paid Rs 28 crore towards land acquisition and another Rs 4 crore to the forest department for compensatory afforestation,” nodal officer of the project P K Panda said.

Meanwhile, a mid-term road user’s satisfaction survey has been launched. A New-Delhi based private company is conducting the survey.

The slow pace of work has irked locals. They took up the issue with the OSRP chief engineer as commuters suffered due to the incomplete road work. “The stretch also saw frequent accidents,” said former Chairman of Digapahandi NAC Hruday Ranjan Mekap.