AAP accuses North MCD of ₹546 cr irregularities in Rani Jhansi flyover project
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Saturday, citing audit reports, accused the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-ruled North Delhi Municipal Corporation of irregularities to the tune of ₹546 crore in the construction of Rani Jhansi flyover in north Delhi.
The BJP dismissed the allegations as “baseless” and hit back at the AAP, accusing the Delhi ruling party of making “manipulative” statements.The cost escalation in a project that was delayed by over 20 years was not a scam, nor was it in the control of the north municipal body, the BJP argued.
The project, which was conceived by the north Delhi civic body in 1998, had gained notoriety over the years as one of the most delayed infrastructure projects in the national capital. Work on the 1.6km-long flyover, which starts near St Stephen’s Hospital and runs till Filmistan Cinema, finally started in 2008 and was finished in 2018. The flyover was to decongest several areas in north and central Delhi.
“MCD audit report exposes a scam of ₹546 crore in the construction of Rani Jhansi flyover -- a project that was estimated to cost ₹175 crore but was completed at a cost of ₹724 crore. Whereas the Shastri Park flyover, estimated to cost ₹302 crore was constructed in ₹250 crore by the Delhi government. The Shastri Park flyover was completed in one and a half years. The Rani Jhansi flyover, on the other hand, took 24 years,” said the AAP’s in charge of municipal affairs Durgesh Pathak.
Pathak further said, “I want to challenge the Delhi BJP president to read this audit report in front of the media so that the people of Delhi and the country get to know about the real face of the BJP. Instead of acquiring the land for construction of the flyover through a government agency, in adherence to the rules, the BJP leaders did personal dealings with the people to spearhead corruption in the project. Around ₹10 crore was spent without any approval. No approval was taken from any official or agency to spend these extra finances.”
While the AAP is in charge of the Delhi government, the BJP rules all three municipal corporations. Delhi goes to the municipal polls in 2022.
Responding to the allegations, Delhi BJP spokesperson Praveen Shankar Kapoor said, “These are baseless allegations. Durgesh Pathak’s statement calling the cost escalation in the Rani Jhansi Road flyover project “a scam” shows that he indulges only in manipulative politics to malign the MCDs. Everybody knows that due to court cases, compensation claims and other humanitarian reasons, this flyover project – started in 1998 and scheduled to be completed by 2000 -- got delayed by 20 years. The two-decade delay escalated the cost of construction from the planned ₹175 crore to ultimately ₹724 crore. This is a cost escalation due to reasons beyond the control of the North Delhi Municipal Corporation and not a scam.”