NHAI to penalize RAMKY for failing to complete grade separator on NH44

A view of an incomplete overhead bridge at Lasjan on outskirts of Srinagar. —Excelsior/Shakeel
A view of an incomplete overhead bridge at Lasjan on outskirts of Srinagar. —Excelsior/Shakeel

Suhail Bhat
Srinagar, June 9: The National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) might penalize the RAMKY infrastructure company for failing to meet this year’s project deadline which the authority has set for the completion of work on an Overhead bridge at Lasjan Junction on NH44 in the outskirts of Srinagar.
The construction company has missed multiple deadlines in the completion of the project since the commencement of the construction work in 2011. The bridge was supposed to get completed in 2014 but the company failed to deliver. Subsequently, the second deadline was fixed as 31st July 2016 which was not met.
A delay in the completion of the grade separator construction at the Junction has put commuters in a spot. They claim that the ongoing works carried out by the RAMKY obstructs vehicular movement. “It is a daunting task to cross this stretch, especially during the peak hours. The commuters are caught in traffic jam for hours as there is no other alternative arrangement to resolve the issue,” Arshad Ahmad, a local cab driver, said.
Commuters also decried the sluggish pace of work on the project, which caused grinding traffic halts during peak hours. “The work is going at snail’s pace. I have not seen any headway in the project for last two-three years. It seems they have abandoned the project,” Nasir Ahmad, a commuter said.
Following the opening of the new alignment of NH44 from Pampore- Lasjan Byepass, an overhead bridge was allotted at an important junction near Lasjan area on the highway. The move was aimed to achieve the grade separation for the smooth flow of traffic. Once complete, the grade separator would ease traffic moving towards Baramulla and Pampore Byepass.
The work on the grade separator at the junction started over eight years. “There were land issues in the beginning and we could not start the construction work on time. Recently work was stopped due to winters. The work will resume soon. It will be completed this financial year,” Hemraj Bhagat, Jammu and Kashmir Regional Head for NHAI.
However, Ghulam Qadir, Project Manager at NHAI, said that some operational and local issues overstretched the project. “There were some local and operational issues that caused the delay,” he said.
Asked about missing multiple deadlines, he said that the NHAI has fixed December as the next deadline and if the company failed to deliver this time it would be penalized. “The way things are going the company is unlikely to meet the deadline and will get fined for that,” he said.