Road funds from NHPC- BRO starts work as power major agrees to foot bill


Kalimpong, Jan. 10: Finally, some good news for the landslide-hit stretch of NH 31A at 27th Mile here.

After much delay, the National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC) today decided to release Rs 1 crore of the estimated Rs 2.93 crore needed to repair the highway, which caved in following a landslide last monsoon. The power major will pay the first installment on Tuesday and the remaining amount in phases. The subsequent payments will depend on the progress of the work, which is being executed by Border Roads Organisation (BRO).

The decision was taken at a meeting between NHPC and BRO officials at the power major’s site office at 27th Mile today. “The meeting was successful and the BRO has already started work at the damaged site,” said S. Khatua, chief engineer, Teesta Low Dam Project, Stage III, NHPC.

Visibly glad about the decision, BRO officials said they would speed up the work by deploying more men and machines as soon as they receive the money. The BRO men have to put in extra effort to complete the project before the monsoon, which sets in around June.

According to a source in the BRO, the officials also decided to work on “stabilising the hills”. While the NHPC will carry out work up to 200 metres from the dam’s base, the BRO will build retention walls from 30 metres below the road. “It is yet to be decided who will carry out the work on the 60-m stretch on the hills in between. The NHPC said they will accept whoever takes up the project,” said a BRO official.

Another matter that has sounded alarm among the officials was the appearance of cracks at a place situated 60 metres from the damaged site. Though the BRO officials said the cracks were new, Khatua told The Telegraph that they have been there for a while now and have become broader as the surface dried up.

The NHPC has also given consent to the BRO request of an early forest clearance before cutting the hillside.

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