3 YEARS ON,PROPOSED JEHANGIR CHOWK-NATIPORA FLYOVER STUCK IN PAPERWORK
ADB yet to approve funding for much hyped project
IN October 2009, Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah announced that a mega flyover would be constructed between Jehangir Chowk and Natipora within a timeframe of three years asking the concerned agencies to show “fullest preparedness”. Almost three years on, work on this express corridor is yet to take off because till now even the tenders haven’t been floated. Reasons are simple. The Asian Development Bank (ADB), the funding agency, is yet to approve the project.
Official sources said the signing of loan agreement, something vital for grant of funds from the ADB was yet to be finalized.
While the Economic Reconstruction Agency (ERA) pleads that “completion of formalities in the planning phase takes time”, observers fear that the project may take decades to complete as has been true for chronic delay in the Hyderpora flyover, the 18 months project incomplete even after six years.
Of this unending delay, a major timeframe of failure is shared by the present government, which will complete its 3.5 years of tenure by June. Taking the present pesky reality into account, the timely completion of the proposed flyover, might be a celebration in dreams alone.
THE HYPED CORRIDOR
Amid much of hype, in October 2009, the Chief Minister approved the south City corridor project but subject to funding of around Rs 300 crores from the ABD.
Laying stress on integrated approach, taking on board all the line departments, Omar had called for “fullest preparedness before launching the work”.
The 4-lane divided carriage way elevated road from Jehangir Chowk to Natipora Chowk, as per the earlier released plan, would integrate with existing flyover at Jehangir Chowk for left turn from Dalgate to Rambagh.
While the National Conference led government approved the project, it banked on the ADB for the funding. And this is where the trouble is believed to have arisen.
“Given the past poor performance of ERA in executing projects in Kashmir, incomplete even after missing several deadlines, the bank is reluctant to grant the loan even as the state government has been pleading for the same,” the sources said.
Experts are apprehensive of the flyover of being effective in streamlining of vehicular traffic. They said instead of the concrete expressway, which will run over the existing Airport Road stretch, the Resham Khana road, which runs parallel to the VIP road, could be widened and would be more feasible.
Rafique A Khan, a Los Angeles based Kashmir-American Urban Planner has been apprehensive of the flyover effectiveness and equally looks at the project as misuse of money and environment disaster for a scenic City like Srinagar.
ERA PLEADS RE
The ERA officials on the other hand plead the “delay in getting the loan sanctioned” on the “Resettlement Element(RE)”.
“Funding is dependant on rehabilitation of those whose establishments are coming in way of the project. And this is where the delay has been taking place,” said some ERA officials requesting not to be named.
The officials said the project executing agency was trying to complete the rehabilitation of the affected.
They said a total of “82 structures housing 366 shops/tin sheds/godowns” will be affected by the construction of the proposed flyover.
Director Central ERA Khalid Muzaffar, who is personally monitoring the flyover issue said: “They (ADB) have approved it in principal (funding) on the condition that rehabilitation plan is substantially completed.”
“We are completing the rehabilitation which is at its fullest… Tendering will be done soon through international competitive bidding,” Muzaffar told Greater Kashmir.
The official while supporting the government said the rehabilitation should be seen as a part of the flyover project and not in isolation.
3-YRS OF FOOD FOR THOUGHT
What good could be the prospects of a project scheduled to be completed in three years when even the ground work is yet to start after three years?
Lastupdate on : Mon, 21 May 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Mon, 21 May 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Tue, 22 May 2012 00:00:00 IST
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