Special Correspondent

“Grade separator project delayed considerably”

CHENNAI: Work on the grade separator at Kathipara junction will be completed by December 31, according to Vijay Singh, Secretary to the Union Department of Road Transport and Highways.

Mr. Singh’s statement came after reviewing the project work along with National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) chairman Pradeep Kumar on Tuesday.

Following the on-the-spot assessment, Mr. Singh and Mr. Kumar admitted that the project had been considerably delayed. It was scheduled for completion in April this year. “Our assessment is that the Kathipara grade separator project work needs 1,100 skilled workers. It has only about 600 labourers at present,” Mr. Singh said.

The contractor had agreed to augment the work force, he said. “We are not justifying the inordinate delay by the contractor.

However, non-availability of skilled workers, changes in the design of the grade separator, the difficulties encountered in the building demolition process and land acquisition were some of the non-engineering problems that had to be tackled,” Mr. Singh said.

The delay in the project had caused great inconvenience to the public, he conceded.

The project had caused considerable embarrassment to the Union Ministry of Shipping and Transport and the NHAI because several VVIPs and VIPs pass through the Kathipara junction, he said.

Mr. Singh noted that the contractor had placed orders for 6 shutterings (support structures) that were crucial for the finishing of the project.

Mr. Kumar and Mr. Singh, who met Chief Secretary L.K. Tripathy earlier at the Secretariat, said they apprised him on the progress of the ongoing works in Chennai and the State.

Cooperation assured

The Chief Secretary assured all cooperation from the State Government to the NHAI for completion of the mega projects at Kathipara, the flyover in front of the Chennai airport, the grade separator at Koyambedu and the flyover at Padi.

Mr. Kumar said he would discuss specific problems relating to the projects with the contractor on Wednesday.

The NHAI Member (Technical) A.V. Sinha and Chief General Manager Ashok Vasan were among those who accompanied the two officials.

“Grade separator project delayed considerably”