After years of discussions, assurances and promises, work on the long-awaited second Railway Over Bridge (ROB) on National Highway 66 at Baikampady may get underway in a few weeks.
During a meeting between the district administration, elected representatives, National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) and Palghat division railway officials held here on Thursday, authorities said the project would start within 18 months after the Railways accorded permission.
Mohan Menon, Additional Divisional Regional Manager, Palghat Division, said the delay in giving the green signal was because NHAI had not sent their consultant to the Zonal Office in Chennai to give clarifications regarding the project despite having been reminded repeatedly last year.
However, NHAI officials informed the railway authorities that as the plans had been drawn up two years ago, it would be impossible for the original consultant to be sent. Instead, said an official, NHAI had offered that Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, which had proofed the plans, would get in touch with the Railways.
Satisfied with this, Mr. Menon said the Palghat division would send a “favourable recommendation” to approve the project that would lead to the movement of traffic in four lanes. “Once the project is approved, the tenders can be called in 15 days,” said Mr. Menon.
NHAI officials added that with the approval of the Baikampady ROB project, they could also begin work on an underpass for goods vehicles exiting New Mangalore Port Trust.
During the construction period, and to ease the congestion on the existing two-lane bridge, Deputy Commissioner N. Prakash urged the Railways to consider opening of a temporary level-crossing adjacent to the bridge. He said that the district administration could bear the construction and operational cost of the crossing, estimated at Rs. 19 lakh with Rs. 30,000 as monthly operation expenses.
The proposed Padil-Bajal Railway under bridge also brought good tidings. The State government, in its order gazetted on January 28, has consented to release Rs. 2.28 crore – which covers the share of the Mangalore City Corporation in the Rs. 4.96 crore project. Railway authorities said the tender process could begin three weeks after the money had been received.
Meanwhile, calling of tenders, and subsequent construction on the RUB at Jeppu-Kudupadi would begin once the MCC remitted Rs. 3.61 crore, said Railways authorities. K. Harish Kumar, MCC Commissioner, said the amount would be released “soon”.
Issues that saw little progress during the meet, chaired by MP Nalin Kumar Kateel, included stalling of a sanction, by the Railway Board in Delhi, of Rs. 17.6 crore for the up gradation of the Mangalore Central Station into a world-class station.