Manipur: National Highway projects under scanner

Imphal, June 12 2022: National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited (NHIDCL) has been overseeing all the development projects of national highways in the state since the past few years but lack of quality control in many of the NH projects are surfacing up, thus raising question on the credibility of NHIDCL’s performance in the state.

Earlier, Border Roads Organisation (BRO) and state PWD were in charge of development projects of national highways in the state.

Recently, NHIDCL took over 1407.955 km out of the 1723.595 km length of national highways in the state.

After NHIDCL took control over 80 per cent of the total length of the highways, state PWD lost all authority over the works.

NHIDCL allots several sections of the NH projects to different companies and many of the projects have already been completed while several others are underway.

Among the on going projects, the NH 39 (NH 102) Imphal- Moreh section from Lilong to Pallel is awarded to GR Infra Project Limited.

The project commenced from June 2020 with May 31, 2023 as the deadline for completion.

As per NHIDCL report dated March 31, 2022, the physical cumulative progress of the project was 56.51 per cent.

In other words, more than half of the project has been completed.

However, questions are being raised over the quality control mechanism of the project such as lab test of materials used in the project including rock and sand as per guidelines of the ministry.

Source said that Shale rocks quarried from nearby hills are mostly used in the project.

As per opinion of some PWD engineers, Shale is a fine-grained, sedimentary rock which can split easily into thin layers.

As per the guidelines, rocks used in construction of national highways should undergo crushing, Los Angeles abrasion, aggregate impact, soundness, shape, specific gravity, water absorption and stripping value of aggregate tests.

Shale rock will fail in crushing, abrasion, impact and shape tests, the engineers said while questioning the reason for allowing use of such rocks for the project.

On the other hand, Lekkon Infra Private Limited is the work agency for the Kuki Taphou to Kangpokpi stretch of NH-02 and cracks on the breast wall of the highway could be visible in Mayangkhang area.

Those breast walls are on the verge of collapsing due to pressure from the hill soil.

At the same time, several breast walls have collapsed along the Yaingangpokpi to Finch Corner section of the Imphal-Ukhrul highway, the source added.

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