Rail underpass project in Ambala on slow track
Though the foundation stone of the railway underpass next to Ambala City Railway Station was laid down by city MLA Aseem Goel on January 5, 2018, the project is on a slow track, much to the frustration of locals.
The underpass will provide an alternate route connecting the railway station with the city’s Manav Chowk, bypassing crowded areas such as the Old Cloth Market.
However, its completion anytime soon does not seem likely as a visit to the site reveals stagnant pools of rainwater with wild overgrowth. People have also started dumping garbage here.
“Work on the project started initially for a few months and then stopped due to some water issues. Things are continuing at a slow pace,” said Ram Prasad Jangid, a retired professor.
To enable pedestrian movement from across the rail line, a narrow lane running along the site along has been built, but shopkeepers say they have informed local leaders that they want it to be tiled.
Till date, however, no one has responded, they say.
Complaining that business had been affected due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Kamal Singh, a dhaba owner said. Customers rarely came to the shop due to the poor connectivity. “We have spoken to the administration a number of times, but there has been no response,” he said.
Goel, who is isolating at home at the moment after testing positive for Covid-19, could not be reached for comments.
GM Singh, divisional railway manager, Ambala division, said the project has been stalled earlier due to heavy railway traffic and needed to be “blocked” for nearly eight hours. It would be resumed again after September 15 by the railway’s construction department in Chandigarh.
Surinder Pal, chief project manager of the department, said he was not aware of the total construction cost but the first phase of the project had been started by the railways around August 2019.
Due to certain “complexities,” he said, some part of the work had been delayed till December and the whole project would be finished, tentatively, by the end of March.
Daljit Bhatia, ex-MC from ward no 7, where the site is located, said the bhoomi poojan (ceremony to launch the project) took place on September 21, 2018, and work was being undertaken jointly by the PWD and the railways, but things were going slow.
The state government had done its share of the work to lay out the roads leading to the underpass, and the railways would be covering the stretch over the underpass, Bhatia said, adding that as part of the construction had not been completed, finalising the work by March did not seem likely.