Pathankot-Mandi fourlane work stuck in red tape

Pathankot-Mandi fourlane work stuck in red tape

2022-04-03 23:34:53

Ravinder Sood

Palampur, April 3

The first phase of the Pathankot-Mandi fourlane project between Chakki (Pathankot) and 32 Miles is held up for want of forest and environment clearances.

A company had been awarded work in March 2021. However, it could not initiate it as the forest and environment clearances have not been issued by the state and Union governments.

Though the company had already shifted its men and machines to the construction sites, its engineers and field staff were sitting idle. The company is likely to claim heavy damages from the NHAI.

A senior officer of the NHAI admitted that because of the abnormal delay, the company could claim damages as per a clause of the tender agreement signed with the NHAI.

He said the NHAI had approved the construction of the first phase of the project on March 26, 2021. Global bids were opened and work valuing Rs 1,002.11 crore was awarded to a Gurugram-based company. Granting environmental and forest clearances was state subject.

He said the NHAI had submitted all documents in time along with no-objection certificates from the field but files remained stuck with the state forest department at Shimla for more than four months. Now the matter is pending in the Supreme Court, which had further delayed the project.

Anil Sen, Project Director, said the land had already been acquired and compensation released to the affected parties three months ago. However, because of the non-availability of clearances, the company could not take up any construction.

He said the government should pull up its agencies. The files pertaining to environment and forest clearances of the Centre projects being executed in the state should be cleared through a single-window system like other states.

He said one of the biggest road projects of the NHAI in Himachal had come to halt. Sen said without the cooperation of the state government the NHAI was helpless to execute such national importance project which links Pathankot with Leh and Ladakh.

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