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Nagaland highway project’s slow pace raises eyebrows

Nagaland highway project’s slow pace raises eyebrows
The slow progress on the construction of four strategically important highways in Nagaland has raised eyebrows in the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, even though the state PWD which is responsible for allotting contracts for projects so far has not reported any fraud or misappropriation to the ministry.

The original estimated cost of the project is Rs 1296 crores which had been approved by the ministry. No revised estimate has been sanctioned. Till now the ministry has already released nearly 45% of the fund to the contractor, but according to the ministry the progress is only 20 to 25%.

The contract was awarded by Nagaland PWD to a joint venture between Maytas Infra, a company floated by disgraced B Ramalinga Raju, former owner of Satyam, and Gayatri Projects Limited, which is owned by senior Congress leader T Subbirami Reddy. Following the huge fund transfer, the ministry had framed a technical committee to monitor the project. This committee, led by additional director general of roads, VL Patankar, had visited the site last year and submitted its report. But officials remained tight-lipped about its contents.

The two-laning of four roads - Longleng - Changtongya, Mon-Tamlu-Merangkong, Phek-Pfutzero and Zunheboto-Chakabama was sanctioned on 9 December 2010. The target is 3 January next year. With ten months left, the ministry realises there is no way to meet the deadline and stop cost escalation.
Tania Ameer

Tania Ameer

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