Solan, January 22
No construction company has participated in the pre-bidding tender issued by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) for the widening of the 17.465 km Kaithlighat-Shakral section of the National Highway No. 5.
NHAI officials attribute the lack of interest to Covid spread as other works have also suffered in the past two years. This is the fourth phase of the National Highway Development Project on the Kalka-Shimla highway being executed by the NHAI. The estimated cost of the project is Rs 1,491.35 crore and the work will be executed on the hybrid annuity mode. Three years will be given to complete the work once the tender is allotted.
Project Director Suresh Sharma says that the pre-tendering response has been lackluster as no construction company has shown interest. However, he hoped that once the tender is floated, bidders will come forward.
Having learnt a lesson while widening the Parwanoo-Solan section, the NHAI officials have also included works like slope protection for which Rs 250 crore has been set aside. “Spending money on slope protection during the construction stage means lesser funds will be spent on its maintenance. Since crores of rupees have been added to the original budget while widening the 39-km Parwanoo-Solan section as well as the 22.91-km Solan-Kaithlighat section of the National Highway No. 5, it has been decided to add this component along with other costs,” says Sharma.
The NHAI had terminated the contract of Chetak Enterprises, which was entrusted the task of widening the 27.45-km Kaithlighat-Dhalli section following tardy progress.
As against 30 per cent work, barely 2 per cent work was executed till January 2020 and the company failed to honour the agreement. The work was assigned to the company in April 2018.
“The Kaithlighat-Dhalli stretch has now been divided into two parts. The first package comprises a 17.465-km stretch from Kaithlighat to Shakral and the remaining 10 km from Shakral to Dhalli comprises the second package. Tenders will be floated before March,” says Sharma.