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Tuesday, Nov 12, 2019

Zirakpur flyover project: Seven months on, beautification work hangs fire

In July, the DC had directed the officials to remove encroachments under the flyover.

cities Updated: Sep 25, 2019 00:36 IST
Idrees Bukhtiyar
Idrees Bukhtiyar
Rickshaw-pullers have encroached upon the area under the flyover in Zirakpur.
Rickshaw-pullers have encroached upon the area under the flyover in Zirakpur.(HT PHOTO)
         

Two months after Mohali deputy commissioner (DC) Girish Dayalan visited Zirakpur in connection with the flyover beautification project, the area continues to paint a picture of neglect.

In July, the DC had directed the officials to remove encroachments under the flyover at the earliest.

He had also directed the officers to ensure proper traffic signs on the roads besides, instructing the drainage department officials to get the sewerage system on the roadside covered. 

The officials were also directed to fix the defunct streetlights hampering the traffic movement in the area. The ₹2-crore worth beautification project work was inaugurated by former minister of state for external affairs Preneet Kaur on February 14 this year. Zirakpur municipal council executive officer SS Sidhu said, “The NHAI is responsible for clearing the encroachments under the flyover and its beatification has to be done by the NHAI. We have to only assist them.”

The NHAI officials remained unavailable for comments.

‘Haven for beggers’

“Only a few trees have been planted under the flyover till date. Despite the DC’s directions, the situation has not improved,” said president of residents’ welfare association (RWA), Shivalik Vihar, Hoshiar Singh.

“The beautification project was scheduled to begin from February but nothing has happened on the ground. The space under the flyover has turned into a haven for beggars. Also, the rickshaw pullers have started parking under the flyover now,” said Kulbushan Sharma, a local.

Another resident Vishal Sharma said, “A drain under the flyover continues to remain blocked. The local municipal council is not cleaning it despite the directions from the higher officials.”

Paucity of funds

In 2016 the authorities had started the project of transforming and beautifying the drab spaces under the flyover.Taking a cue from the flyover garden in Mumbai’s Matunga area, the administration had decided to paint the pillars underneath the flyover in Zirakpur.  Under the project, the entire 2.7-km stretch was to be covered by planting flowering saplings from the Chandigarh border till the jurisdiction of the Zirakpur municipal council limits in compliance with the specifications and policies of the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI). 

Even though the painting work on the pillars had started, but the work was soon halted due to paucity of funds. Moreover, no private agency came forward to utilise the space providing seating spaces, plantation, decorative lights, and other facilities. In October 2016, some volunteers and artists from the city had cleaned the area and made graffiti on the pillars, however, now these have also been plastered with posters.

Mismanagement

In March 2018, when the then deputy commissioner Gurpreet Kaur Sapra had asked the NHAI and GMR Ambala-Chandigarh Expressway Private Limited — a firm which was given the contract — to prepare a feasibility report for the beautification project, the work was expected to start in April first week. However, in December 2018, the NHAI had written to the administration, expressing its inability to carry out the project, following which the district administration had decided to set up a special purpose vehicle (SPV) but to no avail.