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Sunday, November 30, 2008

Corrupt Congress may cost Bharat its World Bank loan for NHAI

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It is not unknown from the world that ever since the corrupt Congress took hold of the government, the basic infrastructure building projects in the country have come to a near stand still. They have played cheap politics at the cost of the exchequer as there have been no progress on the Golden Quadrilateral Highways and North-South East-West corridor, visionary basic infrastructure projects started by great ex-Prime Minister of Bharat Mr. Atal Bihari Vajpayee, in past four and half years.

Another consequence of this lackadaisical corrupt government is that Bharat is set to loose its loan from the World Bank because of it is so slow that what was supposed to be completed this month is expected to be completed after 10 years from now. What can you expect, this decadent Government believes in breaking bridges, even if they 15000 years old engineering marvel, and not in building them. Read on the SHAMEFULL details below..

The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) risks losing $300 million of the $620 million World Bank loan for the $933 million Lucknow-Muzaffarpur National Highway Project (LMNHP), if work on the project is not expedited and safety concerns not addressed within a short period of time.

World Bank acting country director, Rachid Benmessaoud told TOI, "The Bank has a right to use legal remedies available to it, including suspension of the disbursement of funds, if adequate progress is not made in addressing these issues within a short time."

He said, "World Bank concern centres around the poor implementation of five road packages under the Lucknow-Muzaffarpur National Highway Project (LMNHP) which should have been open this month. But at the current rate of progress it will not be ready in 10 years." He added, "Four of these road stretches are in Bihar and one in Uttar Pradesh. The progress of these five packages 5, 9, 10, 11 and 12 has been particularly slow due to poor implementation by the contractors and the consultants supervising the contractors, as well as inadequate contract management on the part of NHAI."

These road stretches comprise almost 40% (in value) of the LMNHP that seeks to transform the 513 km national highway between Lucknow and Muzaffarpur (in Bihar) into a modern, four-lane road and to cut travel time on this important connector by 40%.

"The Bank is also concerned about the inadequate attention being paid to construction safety issues on work sites of the Lucknow-Muzaffarpur National Highway Project (LMNHP). This is putting at risk the lives, health and well-being of road users, construction workers and roadside residents," said the country director.

There are also apprehensions about the large number of variations on work contracts. "Under the loan agreement, we have asked NHAI to share these documents with the World Bank but they are yet to do so", a World Bank spokesperson said.

NHAI authorities on the other hand were not available for comment.

For more, read NHAI may lose $300m loan

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