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National Highway 33 (Ranchi-Hazaribagh) diversion route opens to traffic

The temporary diversion on the right side of National Highway (NH-33) near Lohagate in Ramgarh district that had caved in due to an underground fire became operational on Sunday.


The diversion was, however, opened to light and medium vehicles only on Monday. Heavy vehicles will have to follow the longer route until a permanent diversion is created.


According to Central Coalfields Limited (CCL), which built the diversion, this temporary route will once again reduce the distance between Ranchi and Patna by about 40 km. After the highway cave-in on August 9, all vehicles were diverted through Charahi and Ghato, thereby increasing the distance between Ranchi and Patna.


The coal company has also managed to control the underground fire on and along the NH by pushing in water and chemicals by drilling holes. The temperature in the fire zone, which had risen to 170 degree Celsius, has come down to 76 degree Celsius.


CCL deputy chief public relations manager, M N Jha, said though the company was not responsible for the damage or maintenance of the highway, work was done at the request of the state government. "We have spent over Rs 1.11 crore on controlling the fire in the last two months as a responsible corporate citizen. The company has spent around Rs 27 lakh on the payment of engineers and over Rs 3.5 lakh on scientific assistance. We will continue to work for society," said Jha.


CCL has also suggested that the government mine all coal under the NH so that illegal mining stops for ever. "There are too many rat holes along and under the highway that are known only to locals. Therefore, it is suggested that all the coal is excavated to put an end to chances of fire in future," said Jha.


The Bapira and Phusri bridges on the Charahi-Ghato-Nayamore route are under repair by the state road construction department, which has agreed in principle to share the cost of the emergency repair of the bridges.


TNN 30 September 2009

Koderma-Hazaribag-Barkakana-Ranchi Rail construction hits funds hurdle

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

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