Paucity of funds is threatening to bring to a halt work on the Rs.29-crore Nizamuddin railway underpass project that was supposed to provide better connectivity to light vehicles from Rajdoot Hotel to Ring Road.
Though it was way back in 2007 October that then Union Minister of State for Urban Development Ajay Maken had announced that this was one of the five projects passed at the first meeting of the Urban Development Fund, over five years on the project is still far from complete.
This project was to be executed by the Municipal Corporation of Delhi and was to ease the traffic on major intersections like Ashram and Pragati Maidan by taking some of the load off the vehicles bound for East Delhi from New Delhi and vice versa.
Though Mr. Maken had pushed for the project in 2007, officials of the MCD, which was to execute it, said: “It was only on September 2, 2010, that the administrative approval and expenditure sanction to the project was provided.”
The total cost of the project was estimated to be around Rs.29 crore and of which Rs.20 crore was to be spent by the Railways.
“The MCD has so far made a payment of Rs.6.25 crore. This was made in two instalments of which the first was released in March 2011. The Railways last raised a demand of nearly Rs.13 crore about six months ago,” said an engineer.
But now the MCD does not appear to be in a position to make the promised payment by March 31, 2013. “The MCD had said that it would make an immediate payment of Rs.4 crore and the Railways had even sent it a clearance certificate to show that the funds sent earlier had been utilised, but the civic body does not have the requisite budget for the project now,” rued the official.
On the reasons for its inability to pay up, the official said the MCD has been writing to the Urban Development Department of Delhi Government for release of more funds but the response has not been satisfactory. “Some time ago area Congress Councillor and former Mayor Farhad Suri had also convened a meeting with the Commissioner on the subject and thereafter a letter was sent to the Urban Development Department of Delhi Government for seeking more funds, but they are yet to be sanctioned.”
Pointing out that the project would suffer immensely if the funds were not released on time, the MCD officials insist that the Railways has kept a healthy pace on the project work. “Under the project a new tunnel was to be constructed parallel to the existing one that connects Nizamuddin East to Siddharth Extension.”
Here, the official said, the tunnel passes underneath two main railway lines – one that goes from Nizamuddin towards Tughlaqabad and the other that goes towards Lajpat Nagar.
While at present the existing tunnel gets clogged with vehicles coming from both sides, on completion of the second tunnel, both were to be used for one-way vehicular movement each.