The project was originally expected to be complete by January-February this year
Despite being sanctioned in the early 1990s and having its foundation stone laid in 2008, the much-written-about Rani Jhansi Road grade separator project connecting the trans-Yamuna areas with North-East Delhi with South-West Delhi still has a long way to go.
The project, which has courted more than its fair share of controversies because of the long-standing delay and razing of several important structures to make way for its construction, was originally expected to be complete by January-February this year.
However, it is till waiting for construction to start owing to non-possession of the entire land stretch by the MCD.
According to the civic body, the 1.6-km-long four-lane grade separator to be constructed on the road stretch between Filmistan cinema and near St Stephen's Hospital would benefit trans-Yamuna commuters by decongesting jam-prone areas around these two places. While one arm of the grade separator comprising two lanes would open out to Bara Hindu Rao Hospital the other arm again comprising two lanes would open out to Barfkhana Chowk.
An MCD official said: “While land acquisition deals with various agencies and individuals have been finally completed, the actual handover is not yet over. We have got possession of about 80 per cent of the land from several government bodies including the Railways and the Public Works Department but the remaining 20 per cent is expected to be handed over to us by November-December end only after which work can start by next year and be completed only by 2013 given the cost overlays.”
“The use of German technology involving laying of pre-cast concrete segments for this project construction requires simultaneous undertaking of work on the entire land stretch at one go. It cannot be taken up in phases on a particular stretch of the land one at a time. Hence, no work can begin till we get possession of the entire land,” he added.
The structures demolished to make way for the grade separator include heritage building of Bishop House located inside the premises of the Methodist Church, two schools, over 200 shops and over 80 residential structures for which MCD claims to have paid a compensation of Rs.18 crore.
Though the original budget of the project was pegged at Rs.177 crore, according to sources the cost by the project's final completion would easily escalate to the tune of Rs.200 crore.
The MCD official said: “Apart from the regular procedural delays in getting the proposed cost sanctioned, the failure in getting the land acquisition and handing it over to the contractor as per the bound-time schedule was the main reason for the delay .”
According to sources, the nexus between the MCD engineering department and the contractors to deliberately delay commencement of construction despite a clear date for work order being issued in order to push up the project cost also contributed to the delay.