Nagpur: Expressing serious doubts about the contractor’s claim that he had completed 70% of the works on the Amravati-Akola-Jalgaon Road which passes through Dhule, the Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court on Wednesday directed NHAI to furnish a certificate regarding the ‘satisfactory completion of work’ as claimed in the affidavit.
While hearing a PIL by lawyer Arun Patil, a division bench comprising justices Ravi Deshpande and Vinay Joshi also sought to know whether payments were made to the contractor.
The petitioner, through counsel Firdos Mirza , had brought to the fore the pathetic condition of the Amravati-Akola-Jalgaon and Wardha-Sindhkhed Raja roads which led to many fatal mishaps and loss of precious lives. He informed that NHAI had awarded the contract for building the Amravati-Akola-Jalgaon stretch to a private firm, which went bankrupt and since then the work stopped a couple of years ago. Despite many requests to the authorities, no progress has been made and its condition continues to worsen, thus making driving extremely risky and difficult.
Mirza prayed for directives to NHAI and other authorities to immediately repair both roads which lead to popular tourist destinations in Vidarbha’s western parts.
Even TOI on many occasions had published reports regarding the bad condition of the Amravati-Akola-Jalgaon Road, which is an extremely busy one as the same connects tourist destination Shegaon which is thronged by lakhs of devotees every year.
Earlier, an affidavit was filed on behalf of the contractor stating that 70% construction work on Amravati-Akola-Jalgaon Road has been completed and the remaining would be completed soon. Mirza expressed doubts about the contractor’s claims stating that the road continues to be in bad shape. He added that it has further deteriorated due to rains. Even the judges agreed with him stating that one of them had visited Buldhana recently and found no change in the road’s condition.
NHAI counsel Aneesh Kathane argued that Wardha to Sindhkhed Raja is not a national highway and it’s out of its jurisdiction. The government, however, denied his claims stating that the Centre had already declared the road from Wardha passing through Pulgaon till Sindhkhed Raja as a national highway and thus it was brought under the NHAI.
On January 19, TOI had exposed NHAI’s tall claims of building highways at the rate of 25km per day.
Travellers go through a harrowing time as the expansion has come to a grinding halt for over two years after NHAI concessionaire went bankrupt owing to a financial crisis.