People closely watching the four-lane project of Mangaluru-Bengaluru National Highway 75 between B.C. Road and Addahole (63.6 km) have expressed doubts over the ability of National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) to complete the work by the scheduled deadline of November 2023.
Responding to a query by Roshan Sequeira of Mangaluru on the public grievances portal on the status of four-laning of NH 75 between B.C. Road and Addahole, NHAI’s Mangaluru Project Implementation Unit on March 1 replied that the scheduled date of completion of the 15.13 km stretch between Periyashanthi (Dharmasthala Cross) and Addahole near Gundya under Package 1 is October 1, 2023.
As of now, 50.38% of the work is complete.
S.M. Autade Private Limited was awarded the contract under engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) mode to carry out the work at an estimated cost of ₹400 crore. Since the work involves implementation of wildlife mitigation plans, the stretch was made into a separate package.
Regarding the 48.485 km stretch between Periyashanthi and B.C. Road, NHAI said the scheduled completion date is November 23, 2023. As of now, 28% of the work is complete.
KNR Constructions was awarded the contract under EPC mode to carry out the work at an estimated cost of ₹1,100 crore under Package 2.
Toll collection would commence only after completion of the second package, NHAI said.
Earlier, L&T had won the bid for four-laning the entire 63 km stretch in April 2016, at an estimated cost of ₹821 crore. But the company backed out after NHAI intended to separate the 15 km stretch passing through reserve forests between Addahole and Periyashanthi. The NHAI then called separate bids for the two packages and awarded them in 2021.
Very unlikely to meet deadline
#saveNH75 initiator Gopal Pai said NHAI’s answers appear to be routine ones.
Sandarsh Shetty from #saveNH75 group said it was highly improbable that work would be completed by the deadline laid down by NHAI while Sandeep Bhandary said there are signs that the stretch will become another ‘Pumpwell’.
Going by the pace of work, the project would not be completed before 2025, said Vignesh Kamath. Leaving apart Kalladka flyover, other work could take at least two years, he estimates.