Almost a month after work on the Sohna road project was suspended over safety violations found by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), construction has resumed on a small section this week.
“Right now, we have allowed work on a length of about 600 metres where safety requirements have been met. For other stretches, we will allow work once the safety standards are complied with,” said an official from NHAI.
The Sohna road project, to be completed by July 2021, involves the six-laning and strengthening of a 21-km stretch between Rajiv Chowk and Sohna, through the creation of flyovers and underpasses at multiple points. The project is being completed in two parts – the first deals with a 9-km stretch between Rajiv Chowk and Badshahpur, and the second deals with a 12-km road between Badshahpur and Sohna. The entire project is expected to cost around Rs 1,300 crore.
The project came under the scanner last month after a 40-metre spine of an elevated road collapsed on August 22. A team of officials who visited the spot a day later suspected that the quality of concrete used in the crushed segment may have caused the collapse, and samples were sent to a third-party laboratory for testing.
While work on the elevated road was suspended immediately, that on the rest of the project was stopped three days later, after officials found that concessionaires of both parts of the project were not complying with safety norms – officials said a complete dearth of traffic marshals had been noticed along the site of the construction, along with an absence of proper barricading in several areas.
Both concessionaires were directed to suspend work till they made safety arrangements. Additionally, a penalty of Rs 50,000 per day was imposed on them until work resumed, and they were warned they would be held responsible for any “incident” at the site or any third-party claims related to loss of property or life.
According to NHAI officials, the section on which work has resumed is located in Part 1 of the project. “Work on the rest of the project is likely to start next week in a phased manner, depending on the fulfilment of the safety provisions by the concessionaire,” said the NHAI official.
“With regard to the elevated road, however, a decision will be made only after safety provisions are put in place and the report of the expert committee is obtained. The preliminary report is expected soon,” he said.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines