The government is all set to slip on the timetable for the 5,840-km Golden Quadrilateral project. Almost 65 per cent of the work will miss the deadline of December, 2003 by more than a year. The Golden Quadrilateral, linking the four metros, forms the first phase of Prime Minister Vajpayee's dream National Highways Development Project (nhdp).
According to the latest status report prepared by the ministry of road transport and highways, of the 101 contracts, as many as 66, entailing four/six laning of 3,170 km would be carried over beyond December 2003. The ministry has estimated that contracts worth over 70 per cent of the total project cost of Rs 17,275 crore are spilling over. Contracts worth Rs 3,306 crore are expected to be executed only by December 2005.
The time overrun could also result in project costs escalating. As against the original Rs 58,000 crore cost of the nhdp (including Rs 4,000 crore of port connectivity projects) at 1999 prices, the latest cost quoted by the ministry is Rs 60,300 crore. A substantial portion of the projects where work is expected to extend falls on the Kolkata-Chennai (nh 5, 6 & 60) and the Delhi-Kolkata (nh 2) sections.
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