Work on widening the all-important NH-33 between Jamshedpur and Ranchi is going on in full steam with Madhucon Projects Limited starting preliminary clean-up operations at Amchuria in Galudih, 18 km from the steel city.
On Thursday, the NHAI-appointed Hyderabad-based concessionaire started four-laning work at Amchuria, the fourth point on the 164-km stretch of the highway between the two cities where road widening operations have begun.
Preliminary work to clear the area of trees and shrubs (clearing and grubbing work) have already been launched in Gosaidih (near Bundu) and Jojodih (near Tamar) ' both in Ranchi district ' and Rangamati (near Chandil).
While work at Rangamati and Gosaidih began early in December 2012, Jojodih saw some road widening activity in January 2013.
The Rs 1,479 crore project has been delayed inordinately although National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) had selected construction major Madhucon Projects Limited more than one and a half years ago.
In April 2011, Ranchi Expressway Ltd, a special purpose vehicle of Madhucon Projects, signed a concession agreement with NHAI under build, operate and transfer basis. According to the agreement, work is supposed to be completed by the concessionaire within two and a half years, ie September 2013.
The company will have to manage and maintain the new, widened road for 15 years after construction.
"Clearing and grubbing exercise, begun after completing a survey of the area, include removal of trees, shrubs, stumps and rubbish from the widened portion of the highway. After this, we will be beginning construction," said a source at Madhucon Projects.
NHAI had given the go-ahead for the project after clearances were obtained, including the all-important environmental okay, in two phases.
The clearance for the stretch between Rangamati to Mohulia (near Jamshedpur) was given in November last year, while the nod for the Ranchi-Rargaon stretch was given in December last year.
Madhucon's senior project manager Uday Kumar said he was hopeful of getting the clearance for a 15-km stretch near Dalma wildlife sanctuary by this month.
"We expect to get the clearance from National Board of Wildlife, which is part of the Union forest and environment ministry, for this stretch within a fortnight. We will begin work there as soon as that happens," said Kumar.
A 6-km stretch between Saherbera and Pardih Kalimandir in the area is in extremely poor shape.
It is being maintained by Madhucon Project.
"We have taken up patch-up repairs on this stretch and hope to complete road widening work on this particular stretch before next monsoon. This stretch requires complete overhaul and that can be done along with the road widening work," he explained.