Staff Reporter

DDA yet to give clearance for an interchange design at the Kapashera crossing

CRRI suggests a design change NHAI officials say project cost would go up

NEW DELHI: Over a million road users who avail of National Highway 8 to Gurgaon may be inconvenienced further as the multi-flyover expressway project is now likely to get delayed beyond December 2006 since the Delhi Development Authority has still not given the National Highways Authority of India the requisite clearance for an interchange design at the Kapashera crossing.

According to NHAI officials, DDA is now fighting shy of the approval since CRRI had suggested a design change under which a petrol pump and many more properties need to be demolished. Since the petrol pump incidentally belongs to the very person whose another filling station at Noida Mor in East Delhi led to an ungainly controversy involving design change of Akshardham flyover and led to severe indictment from the Delhi High Court, DDA does not want to burn its fingers again.

But NHAI officials insist the design change being suggested by CRRI would not only lead to an escalation in cost of around Rs 5 crores, but would also lead to a delay in the project since many more properties would have to be acquired and demolished. Even then the suggested design, they insist, is defective since it would not allow motorists coming from Dhaula Kuan side to take a right to Dwarka. "They will have to go straight and take detours which would make their journey longer by over five kilometres''.

The worst affected by the suggested design would be the residents of Kapashera. These people would not be able to use the unpaid service corridors -- running alongside the paid carriageways -- for going towards Dhaula Kuan from the interchange and as such, NHAI officials assert that the very purpose of the Kapashera trumpet interchange gets defeated. "You definitely do not expect those using cycles or other manual modes of transport to take five kilometre detours for their journey,'' the NHAI official said, adding that the original and revised designs have followed the laid safety norms for speed and curves on the project.

The Vice-Chairman of DDA, Dinesh Rai, said though on the face of it the Authority has not found anything wrong with the design, efforts were being made to find a solution amicably since CRRI has made objections to both the initial and the revised design. The concerned Commissioner, R.K. Singh, said it was only a coincidence that the owner of the petrol pump near the construction site is the person who also owned the station near the controversial Akshardham flyover. "He has many filling stations all across Delhi,'' he said.

Though the DDA officials admit that there has been no change in design due to the petrol pump, they aver that the matter can now only be resolved once the CRRI is convinced about it. . Already running behind schedule, the project has now run into another hurdle. NHAI officials said it would take at least 13 months to construct the interchange.