Tough tasks lay ahead of State PWD on NH-53
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, June 16, 2010: Though the State Government has decided to take over the responsibility of developing National Highway 53, the possibility of completing the work this year appears to be remote.

According to information received from the Public Works Department, although the State Cabinet has decided to take over National Highway-53 from the BRO and the matter has already been brought to the notice of the Prime Minister and the Ministry of Shipping, Road Transport and Highways, it would definitely take some time to finalise and complete the work.

Tough tasks ahead of the State PWD : A slushy stretch along NH-53

At present, the task of maintaining the National Highway stretch from Imphal to Barak is under the responsibility of the 675 Bn BRTF while the stretch from Barak to Jiribam comes under Project Pushpak executed by the 36 Bn BRTF.

From the side of Jiribam, BRTF is currently engaged in road expansion work so that the road stretch could be developed from its existing single lane to double lane at some portions.

After the road cutting work, bitumen is to be laid.

As of now, road expansion work is yet to be completed.

The fund sanctioned by the Union Ministry for laying the bitumen after upgrading the road into double lane is yet to be utilised fully.

So the possibility of handing over the task of maintaining National Highway-53 to the State Government, even before utilisation of the sanctioned fund is rather far-fetched, the source added.

The source further explained that in case BRTF had to refund the sanctioned amount to the Ministry, the process of handing over the task to the State Government may be expedited.

However, the amount sanctioned by the Ministry to the BRTF cannot be transferred to the State Government, the source said.

Moreover, there is no possibility of utilising the sanctioned amount of the Ministry as the road expansion work could not be carried out expeditiously following the onset of rainy season.

Another reason for taking time in taking over the responsibility of developing the National Highway by the State Government is the recommendation of the State Cabinet that it has to be first discussed by the Government of India for issuing a Gazette notification.

Only then the task can be officially entrusted to the State Government.

For publication of any Gazette notification, it takes a minimum of 5 to 6 months.

However, if the State Government can manage to exert pressure on the Government of India, then the process may be accelerated.

Even if and when the Government of India finally gives its approval to hand over the task, the State Government has to prepare and submit DPRs for different portions of the National Highways and only after the Ministry approves these DPRs will the required fund for development of the road be sanctioned.

Given this scenario there is no certainty over when the State Govt would take over the work, when it would start or be completed, the source added.