Sonepur: The construction work of the long-awaited ring road project in Sonepur town of Subarnapur district is moving at a snail’s pace, giving rise to resentment among the local populace.
This ancient town is surrounded by Mahanadi and Tel river from three sides. Erstwhile king Birmitrodaya Singh Deo planned to build a ring road to save the town from flood years ago. However, it was never completed.
Later, the state government took up the project and decided to complete the ring road as it would not only protect the town from possible floods but also ease the traffic on roads inside the town.
Local MLA and incumbent finance minister Niranjan Pujari took the initiative and the work on the ring road project began in 2011 again. In between, the work was paused for three years because the government stopped funding the project.
A contractor has been awarded a project to construct a 1500 metre part of the ring road from Mahanadi bridge at a project cost of Rs 3,03,97,000. The contractor also signed up the papers with the works department back in December 24, 2018. As per the agreement, the work was to be completed by November 23, 2019. Even though three months have passed after the deadline, the work is yet to go beyond earth levelling stage, let alone the tarmac track.
Similarly, a 2,400 metre long stretch from the Tel river to Bada Bazaar, retaining wall and two bridges are to be constructed at a cost of Rs 50,91,71,000. A contractor has been awarded the job and he entered into an agreement February 6, 2019. However, the work is progressing at a snail’s speed even though the deadline of June 5 is fast approaching.
A 393 metres long portal frame bridge from Kumbharpada to Dasamati ghat has been planned in the ring road projects. Retaining walls on the river banks will be constructed at a cost of Rs 56,09,83,000. For this, a tender was floated and ARSS Infrastructure Private Limited was awarded the job since the second week of November. That said, the firm is yet to deposit earnest money deposit (EMD), initial security deposit (ISD) and APS (Additional Performance Security). The firm is buying time to sign an agreement with the works department.
Works department executive engineer Asit Kumar Badpanda said ARSS Infrastructure Private Limited has not signed an agreement with us. “We have already intimated this to the chief engineer at NABARD. Now the ball is in the government’s court,” he added.
If all these circumstances are taken into consideration, it cannot be said when the projects will end, local residents said. Denizens of Sonepur, who have been eagerly waiting for the project to get over, held the district administration responsible for the slow progress. They alleged that district officials are not monitoring the work.