The work for widening and strengthening 203-km stretch of road between Sangrur,Mansa and Bathinda is set to commence with the project receiving environment clearance. The Rs 594-crore project is being undertaken as part of a World Bank (WB) initiative based on the concept of Output and Performance Based Road Carpeting (OPRC). Punjab is the first state in the country to have started this project.
WB had approved Rs 1,500 crore for the upgradation of roads in Punjab in 2007. The first phase of the project is complete,under which,717 kms of road were upgraded at a cost of Rs 800 crore. In the second phase,widening and strengthening of other roads on different stretches has been taken up. The state has to contribute 25 per cent of the total project cost.
The 203.68-km stretch,on which work for widening is set to commence,starts from Bhawanigarh in Sangrur district,passes through Sunam and enters Mansa,from where it reaches Bathinda. As part of a traffic survey conducted last year by a New Zealand-based consultancy,it was found that on certain parts of the stretch,traffic flow had increased and there was a need for wider roads. At other places,roads were required to be strengthened and widening was not required.
The contract for the project has been allotted to a Gujarat-based company,which has already undertaken rehabilitation of some sections of the road. However,for widening of roads,environment clearance was required.
The environment clearance has come and work will soon be started. It is expected to be completed in three years. Widening will decrease the congestion on the stretch, said OPRC Project Director Yogesh Gupta.
He added: The unique thing about the project is that it is based on output and performance. The contractor has been given specific targets that have to be completed within a specified time period. If deadlines are not met,money will be deducted from payments. The contractor will also maintain the roads for 10 years.
Under the project,certain other roads that branch out from this stretch will be widened or strengthened. While the stretch from Mansa to the thermal plant at Talwandi Sabo will be widened,stretches from Bhikhi to Dhanaula and Kot Shamir to Bathinda will be strengthened.
Once the project is complete,toll is likely to be charged from the commuters travelling on this stretch.
According to officials,only when the project is complete that this will be considered. A proposal is also on the anvil to impose toll on the Ludhiana-Malerkotla-Sangrur road.