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L-G, Govt. heading for a clash over new Yamuna bridge

By Sujay Mehdudia

NEW DEHLI, JAN. 8. An ambitious scheme to build a third gateway to East Delhi by building another bridge over the Yamuna near Geeta Colony and landing at Shanti Van connecting Ring Road has run into serious trouble. Despite all the clearances and approvals, Delhi's Lieutenant-Governor, Vijai Kapoor, has asked the Delhi Development Authority (Technical Committee) to review the feasibility of the project, setting the stage for a confrontation with the Sheila Dikshit Government on the issue.

This, after the foundation stone of the bridge has been laid and work contract tenders floated by the Public Works Department to commence work on the project scheduled for completion within 48 months.

It is learnt that Mr. Kapoor had summoned the PWD officials recently and sought an explanation from them as to how this project was conceived and what was its feasibility. All the minutes of the DDA (Technical Committee) are first approved by Mr. Kapoor and then only officially issued. In this case, the minutes were approved and therefore a lot of controversy is likely to be generated over the decision to review the project.

Surprisingly, it is the same DDA (Technical Committee), which had earlier cleared the project that has now been asked to review the whole idea and report back to Mr. Kapoor. This delay would not only result in time overlap but also increase the cost of the project. It is understood that Mr. Kapoor had called the PWD officials without the knowledge of the PWD Minister, A.K. Walia, and had reprimanded them for going ahead with such a project whose feasibility was questionable. It is understood that all the work relating to tendering and award of contract has come to a standstill now and the matter has been conveyed to all concerned in the Delhi Government.

To be constructed at a cost of Rs. 130 crores, the bridge seeks to link Shanti Van on Ring Road with the road joining the Marginal Bund adjoining Geeta Colony and Gandhi Nagar in East Delhi. To ensure smooth flow of traffic after completion of the bridge, the Delhi Government had also approved eight-laning of Pushta Road at a cost of Rs. 87 crores.

In addition, the canal going from Pushta Road to Karkardooma via Karkari More and Shastri Nagar was to be covered to ensure unhindered approach to Karkardooma and even destinations like Anand Vihar and Ghaziabad. A sum of Rs. 70 crores had been set aside for the project.

The Public Works Department had done a study of the Old Railway Bridge near Jamuna Bazaar, constructed by the East India Railway Company in 1867, and reported that it had outlived its utility. Even today over 100 trains pass over this bridge daily besides a large number of vehicles on the road deck. The new bridge was planned to take the pressure off the old one.

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