The Kolkata flyover that collapsed never really took off
The Kolkata flyover, a portion of which collapsed on Thursday killing at least 14 people, has seen a bumpy ride since the beginning of its construction in 2009.india Updated: Apr 01, 2016 13:45 IST
The Kolkata flyover, a portion of which collapsed on Thursday killing at least 14 people, has seen a bumpy ride since the beginning of its construction in 2009.
Among the troubles plaguing the 2.2 km-long Vivekananda Road flyover were financial bankruptcy of the implementing agency, massive cost and time overruns, land hurdles and frequent design changes.
The last deadline for the flyover that was supposed to connect Central Avenue with the old Howrah Bridge via Posta in Burrabazar, one of the most densely populated areas of the city, was in May 2015 but was missed. A tentative target date in the beginning of the financial year 2017-18 was fixed.
Soon after construction started on February 24, 2009, during the Left Front regime, work stopped as the implementing agency, Hyderabad-based IVRCL, faced bankruptcy.
Before starting the project, IVRCL had received Rs 164 crore under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) scheme. The work restarted after a gap of a year-and-a-half when IVRCL managed to arrange for funds through debt restructuring.
However, a tussle between the state government and IVRCL over the latter’s demand for additional Rs 72 crore for cost and time overrun hampered the construction further. The state government refused initially but later settled the matter in 2014.
There were other problems on the way with the foremost being land hurdles relating to the construction of the approach road for the flyover. Several local residents also moved court against the construction claiming that structure was too close to their houses and would damage their buildings.
The frequent changes in the designs of the flyover also delayed the projects. These changes had to be made to accommodate several underground utility lines in as many as 35 places between Girish Park and Posta for which the location of the flyover piers had to be changed at least 15 times.