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Bypass project fighting to meet Games deadline

Less than two years before the Commonwealth Games, fate of Delhi government’s ambitious Ring Road By-pass project still hangs in balance, reports Atul Mathur.

delhi Updated: Dec 15, 2008 23:43 IST
Atul Mathur

Less than two years before the Commonwealth Games, fate of Delhi government’s ambitious Ring Road By-pass project still hangs in balance.

The 5.5 kilometre project was conceived to provide relief to traffic around Indira Gandhi Indoor stadium and smooth connectivity between east Delhi and the stadium. But due to objections raised by Delhi Urban Arts Commission (DUAC), it has been stuck for over a year.

Senior Public Works Department (PWD) officials said the project was important for traffic management during the Commonwealth Games.

“Though we have been following up with the DUAC for more than a year now, the agency, despite approving in principle, has yet to give us the final nod. If they sit over the approval, we will have to approach the Group the Minister and start work,” a senior PWD engineer said on condition of anonymity.

The visit of Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit to the project site on Monday is also being looked at as a step towards pushing the project through the Group of Ministers.

According to PWD officials, the arts commission has raised objection to the proposal to cut about 350 trees to make way for the bypass between Salimgarh Fort and Velodrome Road.

While the commission wants the civic agency to “rework the alignment” of the project between Rajghat and Yamuna Velodrome to save trees, senior PWD engineers said tree-felling is the only solution if the project is to be executed at all.

The engineers said they would fail to fulfil the Archaeological Survey of India’s basic condition of keeping projects at least 100 metres away from a heritage site even if a minor change is made in the road project.

“We have told DUAC that either we shift the alignment of the road by 20 metres towards Feroz Shah Kotla or we cut the trees,” said PWD superintending engineer Sarvagya Srivastava.

The engineers said they have a strict deadline to meet in view of the Commonwealth Games in 2010 and they were running against time. While the DUAC’s approval is awaited, the PWD is working on tender process in parallel to save time. “We have divided the project in two parts. Tender for one part of the project has already been awarded,” Srivastava added.

The Rs 654.39 crore Ring Road bypass project will help decongest the Ring Road between Indraprastha Estate and Hanuman Setu behind the Red Fort.