भुवनेश्वर Bhubaneswar (BBS): More than 10 years after it was sanctioned by the Ministry of Railways, the doubling of Cuttack-Barang line reaches its final stages of completion. The 12-km double lining work has gone beyond schedule as contractors left the project mid-way. The delay has only added to the woes of traffic as the section witnesses heavy movement of trains, both passenger and goods. With the number of trains increasing along with their frequency on East Coast Railway jurisdiction, the problem has only compounded in the recent past.
The Cuttack-Barang line was sanctioned in 2003-04 with an estimated cost of Rs 135 crore but the project lingered on. The Rail Vikash Nigam Limited (RVNL), which is implementing the project, finalised the tender in 2006 and the contract was awarded to three contractors – one each from Indonesia, Delhi and Odisha – in 2008.
However, the contractors from Indonesia and Delhi left the project mid-way and work had to be stopped. With neither Rail Board nor RVNL giving any priority to the project, it got stuck. Although it was scheduled to be opened for traffic by September last, the expected date of completion has now been pushed to January 2015. Chief Project Manager of RVNL S.K.Patra admitted that abandoning of the work by the contractors led to a delay. He attributed it to ‘contractual litigations’.
“The project was being executed in a joint venture and there were some disputes following which RVNL terminated their contracts and issued fresh tender,” he added.While the double-lining work had started in 2008-09, the contractors abandoned the project after a year-and-a-half. This forced RVNL to float fresh tender in 2012.
Sources said, cumulative expenditure for the project now stands at Rs.216 crore. In the current year, at least Rs.17 crore has been spent. At present, the physical progress of the project is estimated at 85 per cent whereas the targeted date of completion has been fixed at December-end.
Work for five major and seven minor bridges has been completed while track linking of 11.5 km out of 12 km has been wrapped up.
Patra asserted that despite the delay, the project has not seen any cost escalation since procurement of materials had been completed. He said, work has reached the final stage and double-lining will be completed by January.