The ongoing construction work of the Koderma-Hazaribag-Barkakana-Ranchi railway line connecting Hazaribag town with the railway link may be stopped due to the acute shortage of funds.
According to details available, the crisis was created by the Jharkhand government for non-release of the sum promised by it when the project was launched about nine years ago.
The report said due to the delay in completing the project by 2007-'08 as scheduled, the cost of the project escalated to over Rs 2,000 crore and one cannot say when the fund will be provided to complete the pending work by the revised target of March 2010 between Koderma and Pipradih and up to Hazaribag by the end of 2010.
This schedule was given to the commissioner of North Chhotonagpur division, A K Pandey, at a meeting held between the ECR officials and the deputy commissioners of Hazaribag, Koderma, Chatra and Ramgarh districts in the first week of July here.
There, Pandey conveyed the government's decision that full protection would be given to the railway contractors against in the wake of threat from Maoists and others. The government accordingly deployed two battatlions of IRB to maintain vigil at the construction site. Plus, all the SPs of the above-mentioned districts also provided security to the contractors and work was progressing smoothly. The commissioner told reporters later that whatever land was required by the railways for this project has been acquired and possession given to it accordingly.
Now, following the problem of fund shortage, the ECR top brass has apprised government officials in Ranchi of this. As per the agreement between the government and the railway ministry, two-third cost of this project will be provided by the state government and the rest by the Centre and, on that basis, construction work started when Marandi was the chief minister.
Though his government fulfilled the promises, subsequent governments did not release any money, resulting in work slowing down considerably.
However, according to official reports, the government released Rs 5 crore on Thursday and promised to pay another Rs 250 crore after getting it approved by Parliament.
TNN 2 October 2009 / TNN