After a delay of 15 years, work has started, though at a slow pace, on the Rani Jhansi road grade separator project which would connect the area from St. Stephen’s Hospital to Filmistan in North Delhi and pass through the Azad market, one of the most congested markets of Delhi.
The North Delhi Municipal Corporation, which inherited this four-lane flyover project from the erstwhile Municipal Corporation of Delhi after its division in 2011, has claimed to have completed 50% of the work.
Yogendra Singh Mann, director, Press and Information, North Delhi Municipal Corporation, said, “There had been trouble with land acquisition, as there were several railway properties and other residential and commercial properties on its way. We have now acquired most of the land for the project, and work has started again.”
“There were also religious properties on the way of the flyover; to demolish and relocate them took most of our time. However, there are still a few lands that would need to be acquired to fully complete the flyover. We are in talks with all stakeholders,” Mann added.
The cost of the project is also believed to have risen manifold. The project was sanctioned in 1998, with an estimated cost of Rs 70 crore, and the contract was given to Dinesh Chandra and R Agarwal Infracon Limited, an Ahmadabad-based contracting firm. The present cost has risen to an estimated Rs 450 crore. However, work on the project started only in 2007, keeping in mind the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi, but was stalled midway.
The Aam Aadmi Party government and the NDMC have also been at loggerheads over this project recently. The Delhi Government had asked the Corporation to hand over the project to them, but the Corporation is unwilling to do so. A senior official of the NDMC said, “The Delhi government is only resorting to a blame-game. We were not sitting over it deliberately. Genuine land issues delayed the project.”