National Highways has shortlisted three contractors

The proposed five-km-long road link to Dhanushkodi, which was devastated in the 1964 cyclonic storm, will be the National Highways’ first project to be implemented under the new EPC (Engineering, Procurement and Construction) mode. The work is expected to begin in June.

The Centre, which initially questioned the need for the road after a gap of almost five decades, sanctioned Rs.20 crore for laying the road from Muhuntharayar Chathiram in February last. But the work could not be taken up immediately as the National Highways sought exemption for the project from the EPC mode whereas the Centre insisted on it.

After the Centre made it clear that the road project would be implemented under EPC mode, the National Highways after placing a Request for Qualification (RFQ), shortlisted three contractors – the local VM & Co., Madurai-based Yoga Constructions and Aruppukottai-based SPK Constructions, sources here said. The Request for Proposal (RFP) had been sent to the contractors and they had been asked to give their proposals by this month end, the source said, adding the contract could not be awarded in March when the model code of conduct for the Lok Sabha elections was expected to be in force.

Though the contractors should present the design, besides procuring the necessary materials and build the project, they would be exempted from presenting the design in this case as the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT-Madras) had made ready a design for laying the road, using the gabion boxes to avoid ingress of seawater, the sources said.

After the award of contract in June, the road would be ready in one year, the sources said.

Dhanuskodi, a strip of land on the eastern end of Rameswaram Island, was almost wiped out in the cyclonic storm in December 1964. Since then, it has remained cut off from Rameswaram.

In the absence of a link road from Muhuntharayar Chathiram, pilgrims and tourists take a rough ride in the sandy terrain in jeeps and vans.

The National Highways also proposed to widen the existing two-lane road from Ramanathapuram to Muhuntharayar Chathiram to a 10-metre-wide road at a total cost of Rs.60 crore, also under the EPC mode.

The Centre had sanctioned the project, the sources added.

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