Kolkata Port Trust’s (KoPT) delay in giving land to Kolkata Metropolitan Development Authority (KMDA) has affected the construction of Vivekananda Road flyover badly.
The foundation of the flyover was laid in 2007 and it was supposed to have been completed within 18 months. The estimated cost of the project was Rs 164 crore.
The project taken up by the erstwhile Left Front has become a major problem for the Trinamool Congress led State government.
As KoPT has not yet handed over the land to KMDA, the agency is unable to construct the approach road from the Howrah end which is very important. As the result of this inordinate delay there is escalation of cost and engineers said that the cost escalation would up to Rs 250 crore. The construction of the project was taken up under Jawaharlal Nehru national Urban Renewal Mission (JnNURM). So, the State government will have to dish out money to complete the project.
To ease Howrah bound traffic movement from Eastern side, the then Left Front government had proposed construction of the flyover connecting Vivekananda Road with Strand Road avoiding traffic of Burrabazar and its adjoining areas. Traffic jam between Strand Road and Ganesh Talkies is a regular feature and it was thought that this traffic bottle neck would be avoided by constructing a flyover.
The construction work first received a major jolt in 2009 when local people launched a movement alleging that the design of the bridge was faulty. They said the wall of the flyover was situated so close that many people who had stayed on the first floor of the apartment would not be able to open their windows. Without listening to the people the erstwhile Left State government went ahead with the construction and the bridge was completed.
As the issue of constructing the approach road with KoPT was not taken up by the erstwhile State government, a major crisis has cropped up now. The approach road from Howrah side is yet to be constructed. The approach road from Vivekananda Road is yet to start, thus making the whole project a bad investment.
The State Urban Development minister Firhad Hakim had said that it would be thrown open before April but now he said that it would another few months to resolve the impasse. “It is unfortunate that Trinamool Congress government has to pay a price for the fault of its predecessor,” said Hakim. KMDA engineers said that the chance of the flyover being open before the Pujas was bleak.