Congress to hold 3-day Padayathra against the Stoppage of NH 75 Work between BC Rd & Hassan
Mangaluru: Addressing His First Press Meet of the New Year 2019, former District-in-charge minister Ramanath Rai said, “One may have to wait for long to drive hassle-free between Bengaluru and Mangaluru as the four-laning work of National Highway 75 between Hassan and B.C. Road (near Mangaluru) has come to a halt. The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) had awarded the contract of constructing a four-lane concrete road in two packages- 55 km between Hassan and Maranahalli and 66 km between Addahole and B.C. Road- to Isolux Corson and Larsen and Tubro under engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) mode at a cost of Rs 400 crore and Rs 821 crore, respectively, in March last. Under EPC mode, the NHAI would pay the contractor for the work upon reaching identified benchmarks and submitting bills”.
He further said, “The 26-km Shiradi Ghat stretch, which has been concreted for a uniform width of 8.5 metres (two-lane), is not being made four-lane because of the ghat and forest constraints. While the contractors were expected to complete the work within two years, the work did not progress at the estimated pace since the beginning. While tree and earth cutting works were done to some extent by L&T, very few earth-cutting work was done by Isolux in their area. At present, work by both contractors have come to a halt. It is learnt that Isolux appears to have gone bankrupt. After which the work was fully taken over by L & T. But it is learnt that since there is a delay in payment, L & T has also stopped the work”.
“Regarding work delay in Dakshina Kannada, it is learnt that the authority had to include three elephant underpass works between Addahole and Periyashanthi (Dharmasthala Cross) and some mitigation works, estimated to cost about Rs 130 crore that were not in the original contract. While the authority intended to do the work on its own, L&T insisted that it should also be added to the scope of the original contract, failing which the company might walk out of the it”. Expressing his concern over the inconveniences caused to the public due to the suspension of this four-laning works of the NH 75 stretch between Addahole and BC Road, Rai said that the work was suspended as the NHAI has not cleared dues of the company, and he urged the National Highway Authority to immediately clear the bills of the contractor.
Ex-minister Rai also appealed to the Union Government to ensure that the works resumed at the earliest, and not to neglect the project since NH 75 is like a lifeline between Mangaluru and Bengaluru. On the occasion He also chose to blame the local MP Nalin Kumar Kateel for the slow pace of the highway works in the district and urged him to ensure that the highway projects were completed on time. In order to awaken the Central Govt and other concerned authorities Ramanath Rai said, “We have decided to hold a Padayatyra which will start on 14 December from Nelliyadi which will last for three days proceeding through Uppinangady, Mani and other areas, with halts and public meetings in between at various locations. We are expecting huge participation for this padayathra. The central govt which has shown negligence towards this project, should take quick decision and try to complete most of the NH before the monsoon starts, in order to avoid more problems”.
District Congress President Harish Kumar, MCC Mayor Bhasker K, former mayor Shashidhar Hegde, Corporator Naveen D’souza, Ex-MLA J R Lobo, Congress leaders Ms Shalet Pinto, Venkappa Gowda, Dhananjaya Adpangaya, Shahul Hameed and others were present.