[ Tongam Rina ]
ITANAGAR, Jul 10: Chief Minister Pema Khandu on Wednesday said that fresh tender for the Potin-Pangin Trans-Arunachal Highway (TAH) will be floated in the next 15 days.
The chief minister said that the DG of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) informed him on Wednesday morning regarding the fresh tender process.
Khandu was speaking on a short duration discussion on the Potin-Pangin TAH initiated by Kento Jini, which saw participation of MLAs from Siang valley and Upper Subansiri districts.
Though the tender process was started way back in 2012, the stretch of the TAH has been mired in controversy.
The Potin Pangin Highway Pvt Ltd (PPHL), the construction agency, left the project in 2018 citing numerous hurdles, including inability of the state government to hand over land on time.
Before its departure, the PPHL had written a damning letter stating that it reserves the right to claim damages because of the cost incurred as it had already mobilized resources, including machineries, and payment of performance security guarantee money.
The PPHL, a Hyderabad-based company, signed an EPC contract with Naharlagun-based TK Engineering Consortium Pvt Ltd on 19 September, 2014, to construct the Potin to Pangin stretch of the TAH.
Both companies reportedly suffered heavy losses as the state government confirmed availability of 80 percent land (RoW) only in December 2017.
Later, the project ran into problem because of inflated compensation amount on land acquisition, leading to arrest of several people, including then Lower Subansiri Deputy Commissioner Kemo Lollen.
The compensation case is currently with the Special Investigation Cell, which has arrested two engineers, Assistant Engineer Toko Taje and Junior Engineer Kabak Bath.
The SIC says that the total compensation amount for Potin- Bopi stretch of TAH is Rs 188 crore and it is ascertaining fake beneficiaries.
SIC SP M Harsha Vardhan had earlier said that around Rs 50-60 crore was likely paid to fake beneficiaries.
The chief minister admitted that the tender process was initiated without completion of land acquisition process in 2012 for the 407 kilometers Potin-Pagin road.
He said that whole process right from the beginning was “messed up” because of procedural lapses.
There were mistakes by the state and the MoRTH, Khandu said, stating that tender was awarded without having acquired land in 2012.
After the project was terminated in 2018, it was decided that TAH will be done in nine packages on the same stretch. The DPR was submitted to the MoRTH, the CM informed.
Again in 28 January, 2019, the MoRTH decided that the project will be done in three packages, for which tender was called on 28 February this year.
After extension of the tender process thrice, it materialized in June 2019. However, there were no takers for packages ‘A’ and ‘B’. Only one firm participated in the tender process for package ‘C’, Khandu said.
After the no-show, the ministry has decided to go back to the nine packages instead of three.
Terming it the lifeline of six districts, the chief minister said that a high power committee has to be constituted by the MoRTH to oversee the quality and timely completion of the project.
He said that the centre is upset with the lack of progress in the road because of compensation issues. He said that it was time for the state to replicate the Meghalaya model of ‘no land, no road.’
The chief minister further informed that DPR for the East-West Industrial Corridor road is being prepared and tender process for DPR for frontier highway is underway.
There will be no land compensation for the two projects.
[ Tongam Rina ]