[ Bengia Ajum ]
ITANAGAR, 23 Jan: The work on the first-ever two-lane state highway, being constructed to connect Itanagar with Jote, continues to face multiple challenges.
The 20-km-long highway is being constructed by the Doimukh PWD division, and the contractor is Bhimji Private Limited, Gujarat. From out of the 20 kms, the contractor is facing major issues in the 6 km area, which falls under the Itanagar Capital Region.
The work on the 14-km stretch in Papum Pare rural is progressing smoothly. The failure of the authorities to complete the utility shifting has become the biggest obstacle to the completion of the work.
“Electric poles, Poma water supply pipelines, telephone wires and poles, etc, are creating a lot of trouble. We are working on making so many adjustments,” informed Ngurang Changriang, a representative of Bhimji Private Limited.
He said that the failure to shift the electric poles, especially those in between the Ganga lake entry point and Baat village, has slowed down the work.
“There are both HT and LT lines. The capital electrical division is yet to shift poles in this particular stretch, which has almost stopped the work. Our machineries are lying idle due to the failure to shift the electric poles by the capital electrical division. I have personally spoken to the assistant engineer and junior engineer and requested them to carry out the shifting of poles at the earliest. But sadly, it has not been done till now,” he said.
He further said that work on the 14-km stretch falling under Papum Pare rural will be completed by 31 March.
“We are working with a target to complete blacktopping and all other works on the stretch by 31 March. Here also, people want us to construct retaining walls at several places. But we have limited provision for it and cannot construct a wall at every place,” said Changriang.
He also claimed that in several areas, they have carried out work that was not in the DPR, “just to ensure that work is completed on time.”
Meanwhile, reacting to the claims of the contractor, a senior official of the capital electrical division agreed that the electric poles have not been shifted till now.
“The tender for shifting of electric poles for the entire stretch was done by the Yupia electrical division. They have to provide us with materials, and after that only we will carry out shifting. Till now materials have not been provided,” the official claimed.
The work on the Itanagar-Jote state highway started on 31 October, 2021. It is the first two-lane state highway with a formation and carriage width of 12 metres and 7 metres, respectively. It includes 17.40 kms of widening, embankment of 2.60 kms, pucca drain measuring 11.93 kms, and a protection wall measuring 926 metres.
At the time of the start of work, the then PWD SE, who is now the PWD CE (WZ), T Kamsi had informed the media that it would be a “national standard two-lane highway.”
The Itanagar-Jote state highway is one of the pet projects of Chief Minister Pema Khandu, and the work is being monitored from the highest level.