Mangaluru, Jan 3, 2017:Repeated postponement of the second phase of reconstruction work on Shiradi Ghat is again on the cards. Contractors have not gathered 70 per cent of the material required for the work nor has extension of 74 culverts on the stretch yet been finished. As a result, it is highly unpredictable that work would be taken up during the first half of 2017 also, even though the work order was issued in November 2015.
Only if the National Highways division of the State Public Works Department (PWD) fills the craters, then road users would be able to negotiate the 13-km Shiradi Ghat stretch from Gundiya to Kempu Hole Guest House. A senior engineer with PWD’s NH Division told DK district in-charge Minister B. Ramanath Rai on Jan 2, Monday that the government would take the decision whether to continue the contract or rescind it within a week.
Notices had been issued to the contractor to commence work but in vain, he said and added that the contractor’s financial position appears to be not good to take up the work.
Since the work involved expenditure of more than Rs. 50 crore, contract was awarded to GVR Infra Projects Ltd., on engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) terms, instead of item-based contract, the engineer said.
As on date, only about 43 per cent construction material and 33 per cent sand required for the work have been collected by the contractor. Also, the contractor is yet to bring one more concrete paver machine to the work site, he said. While all the 74 culverts have to be extended to match the new width before the road is closed for reconstruction, the contractor has completed work on only 36.
Under these circumstances, the PWD is hesitant to ask the contractor to commence work, the engineer said. Minister Rai asked the PWD to repair the battered stretch of the road, if reconstruction work is not taken up immediately.
DK DC K.G. Jagadeesha, Additional DC Kumar and other officials were present. With the second phase of Shiradi Ghat reconstruction work getting repeatedly postponed, the 13-km bitumen stretch of the ghat downhill has remained in poor condition.
Bangalore Tourist Taxi Owners Association president Radhakrishna Holla told media that drivers of light motor vehicles would not dare to travel via Shiradi Ghat because of potholes and craters. While the road is designed to take loads up to 40 tonnes, multi-axle vehicles carrying loads up to 80 tonnes operate on the stretch thereby damaging the road seriously, he said. If the government is not taking up the work immediately, it should ensure that the ghat road is at least motorable, Holla demanded.