Staff Reporter

BERHAMPUR: The reconstruction work on the stretch of NH 5 in Ganjam district of Orissa under the Golden Quadrilateral project seems to be jinxed.

Although the work to make the stretch of highway a four-lane road was to be finished in 2004, it is yet to be completed. It is expected to be completed by October this year. But the caving in of the half-completed bridge over the Rushikulya river near Ganjam town on Saturday evening would further delay the project by at least a year, according to Ajit Mishra, Sub-Collector of Chatrapur.

The delay in the construction work of the highway and its half-constructed state in Ganjam district have made it one of the most dangerous stretches of NH 5. As per reports around 200 persons died in accidents on this stretch of the highway during the last three years.

The total NH 5 stretch in Ganjam district has been divided into two parts. Work on both parts is delayed due to different reasons.

The 56-km stretch from Sunakhala to Ganjam is yet to become totally four-lane. Its work is stalled due to legal hassles. Mr. Mishra has said the company, which took up the work of this stretch has taken extensions to complete it. It led to cost escalation and tussle between the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) and the company.

As the matter is sub judice with the Supreme Court, the work is stalled.

The work to make the NH 5 stretch from Ganjam to Itchapur a four-lane road started from June 2001.

A joint venture company from Malaysia named, Bumi Highway-DDB Ltd, took up the work.

Owing to its poor performance, the NHAI expelled the company from the project in February 2004. By the time, only 12 per cent of the work has been completed. It has been followed by a legal tussle between the company and the NHAI in the Supreme Court.