Two government agencies BRO and NHIDCL are locked in a fierce competition to grab infrastructure projects in J&K and Assam. J&K Lt. Governor Manoj Sinha is said to have urged the director general (roads) to settle the issues between the two agencies.
According to ToI, the UT administration has given the task of seven out of 11 road projects to Border Roads Organization (BRO). Because of the ongoing tussle, the remaining four works have been put in abeyance. Moreover, sources said Sinha highlighted the issue at a review meeting where officials from both – BRO and NHIDCL were present.
The NHIDCL, as per sources, has been tasked with preparing project reports for tunnels at Khardung-la, Fotu-la and Namki-la passes in Ladakh. It should be noted that the same has been entrusted to BRO. A central government official revealed that all this has resulted in two organizations preparing different plans for the same stretches despite the government’s focus for integrated planning and execution of infrastructure projects.
Both agencies were also preparing detailed project reports (DPRs) for twin-tube tunnels under the mighty Brahmaputra in Assam. The NHIDCL is preparing the DPR for a 15.6 km twin-tube tunnel. BRO is preparing a similar 7km rail-cum-highway tunnel. Both agencies, as per ToI, have claimed their DPRs are at advance stage. Sources said the NHIDCL tunnel plans to connect Gohpur with Numaligarh in Assam, while the BRO project plans to connect the strategically important Misamari and Tezpur.
As such, the road transport secretary in a recent meeting directed the managing director of NHIDCL to discuss the matter with the chief of defence staff for endorsement of its plan as this is a “strategically important” proposal before preparing a draft note for cabinet committee on security. The NHIDCL said when the matter of the two tunnel projects was brought before the defence ministry, it was decided that BRO should not proceed further as NHIDCL’s DPR is at an advanced stage.
However, Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, during his recent visit to Delhi, urged defence minister Rajnath Singh to approve the under river tunnel proposed by BRO.