IN THE excitement over the Centre’s nod for the Rs 868-crore Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS), no one seems to have noticed the quiet burial of the Palasia grade separator scheme.
The BRTS blueprint, while setting down a detailed roadmap for City buses to ply on, contains no provision for overhead structures on AB Road, in effect, grounding any chances of the separator coming into existence.
The Rs 29-crore separator, aimed at decongesting traffic on the Palasia-DIG Bungalow stretch on the ultra-busy AB Road, was initially delayed owing to a disagreement among rival BJP factions.
Supporters of PWD Minister Kailash Vijayvargia, in whose mayoral tenure the proposal was first mooted, were in favour of the original four-armed design with extensions towards MG Road and Saket.
Mayor Dr Uma Shashi Sharma, however, pressed for a three-armed variant and proposed that the Saket arm be dispensed with. At the time it was alleged that the MP Sumitra Mahajan was behind the idea to drop the Saket arm, as she felt it would increase vehicular movement around her residence.
Even as a stalemate persisted, IMC Speaker Shankar Lalwani, a qualified engineer, called for doing away with the MG Road
arm, too, and recommended the construction of a conventional flyover.
As the various groups flexed their muscles over the ideal number of arms and petitioned their respective gurus for support the proposal was kept hanging.
In an attempt to resolve the deadlock, the Mayor decided to place the matter before the public. All three proposals were placed before a group of eminent citizens including members of Centre Environmental Protection Restoration Development (CERPD), architects and engineers at a meeting held at Hotel Shrimaya Celebrity in July.
Faced with protests about her favoured design, prepared by M/s Srikhande Consultants, the Mayor announced that the proposal would be forwarded to a team of experts from IIT-Delhi for a technical feasibility study. As the same team was also involved in the technical aspects of BRTS, the proposal was approved with the rider that a copy of the design be submitted to CERPD for study.
Two months on, nothing further has been heard of the matter and the IMC didn’t demur even when the BRTS proposal, inadvertently but definitively, scuttled the separator proposal.
“Although it forwarded the design to IIT-D more than two months ago, the IMC Public Works department has failed to follow up. It is clear that they aren’t interested in building the separator”, said Speaker Shankar Lalwani.
Mayor Dr Uma Shashi Sharma could not be contacted for comment.