Two decades since it was mooted, 10 years since work started on it and six years after the deadline was first missed, construction of the 1.6-kilometre-long flyover on Rani Jhansi Road is far from over as officials try to weed out bottlenecks.
Pursuant to a Delhi High Court order last month about the incomplete flyover, Delhi chief secretary MM Kutty recently held a marathon review meeting of all stake holding agencies.
The North Delhi Municipal Corporation is implementing the project — stretching between Filmistan Cinema and St Stephen’s Hospital.
The flyover is critical to decongest important stretches in old and central Delhi as it will connect Pusa road, Upper Ridge and Rohtak Road through Filmistan Cinema, Azad market, Roshanara Road, which further extends to ISBT Kashmere Gate Road.
The minutes of the meeting show that the hurdles include shifting water mains, land acquisition, cutting trees, and shifting utilities such as traffic signals, a transformer, a bus stop and a parking lot.
That these creases are being ironed out now reflects bad planning at the time of preparing the key infrastructure’s detailed project report, a senior Delhi government official said.
Besides causing inconvenience to commuters and residents, the delay has caused a four-fold increase in the cost. The cost was estimated at Rs 177 crore in 2008, it has shot up to Rs 725 crore, sources said.
With a number of problems cropping up, the matter reached court in 2013.
Acquiring land at four spots are among the major speed bumps. “A 102 square metre (sqm) of land is to be acquired at Beriwala Bagh (Azad Market Chowk). The municipal corporation has approached the high court for the vacation of stay over the matter,” an official said.
Similarly, a 700 sqm land near Model Basti is also stuck as the matter is subjudice, the source said. “It was decided in the meeting that an affidavit will be filed about the latest status before the high court during next hearing in February.”
The biggest piece of the problem is a 1,500 sqm railway land required for shifting parking lot. However, railway representatives in the meeting opposed the idea saying “an important railway project is planned on the land”.
However, railway officials were asked to be more sensitive and accommodative in the larger public interest, an official said. “The chief secretary suggested the North DMC… (could) seek the help of member (engineering) of railways in resolving the issue amicably,” he said.
The new Land Acquisition Act has also complicated the procuring of a 124 sq m of private land. “The process of empanelment of agencies for taking up the assessment has been started and is likely to be finalised shortly,” an official said.
To progress, the project also needs permission to cut 46 new trees on the route. The officials concerned were directed to make a fresh application with the forest department. “A total of 57 trees need to be cut. Eleven of them are old and 46 are new trees, for which fresh application needs to be made. The conservator of forest assured us the permission will be given within two weeks of receiving the application,” an official said.