When Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit said she was nervous about the preparations for Commonwealth Games, she reflected the mood of all senior engineers in Delhi’s Public Works Department (PWD).
Of the 17 flyover projects that the PWD is constructing for Commonwealth Games 2010, at least two — the elevated road to Jawahar Lal Nehru Stadium over Barapullah Drain, and Ring Road Bypass between Indraprastha Estate and Salimgarh Fort — are running way behind schedule.
While PWD has been able to complete less than 45 per cent civil construction of the Barapullah Elevated Road, the progress on Ring Road Bypass is a poor 25 per cent.
The two road projects are most crucial from the Games’ perspective. Barapullah Elevated Road will be the main link between Commonwealth Games Village in East Delhi, where over 7,000 athletes and officials of 71 participating countries will stay, and Jawahar Lal Nehru Stadium, the venue for several sporting events.
The inaugural and closing ceremonies of the Games would be also held at the stadium.
Senior PWD engineers blame the delay on lack of consensus between several construction agencies and agencies responsible for safeguarding the aesthetics of the city and its heritage monuments.
“The design of the link road saw several changes. It was first conceived as a tunnel road. Succumbing to the objections of Delhi Urban Arts Commission, we changed this project into an elevated road. Then, Archaeological Survey of India had its objections. The project was finally given the go-ahead only in August 2008,” said a senior PWD engineer, who did not wish to be named.
Ring Road Bypass project, on the other hand, has yet to get final clearance from DUAC. When the government felt the project would miss its Games’ deadline, it bypassed DUAC and started construction with the lieutenant governor’s approval.
The project also includes construction of a railway over-bridge behind Salimgarh Fort, by Northern Railway. PWD engineers said they would construct their part but they were not sure of the railways keeping to their deadline.
PWD Minister Rajkumar Chauhan said he was closely monitoring the progress of both projects.
“The reputation of the country is at stake. We have to complete the projects in time. I am satisfied with the progress of both projects,” Chauhan said.
“Whatever work has been assigned to PWD for the Games, would be completed. We have already opened a few flyovers while seven more will be opened by end of this year.”