The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Flyover funds to repair roads

APC Road

New Park Street
SP Mukherjee Road
Deshapran Sashmal Road
Maniktala Main Road

Normally used to projects going haywire, thanks to cost overruns, the government has sprung a pleasant first. The state coffers are left with a surplus of over Rs 35 crore from the ongoing flyover projects, which will be used to upgrade six important city roads.

The proposal, according to transport department officials, has been sent to the Japanese agency for its formal approval, as it has funded the flyovers.

“We have managed to save Rs 35 crore by closely monitoring construction work and curtailing avoidable expenditure. Since all the projects are expected to be completed within the stipulated timeframe, there is no question of any price escalation. The surplus amount will be spent for development of city roads,’’ said Prashant, joint-secretary in the transport department and nodal officer monitoring the flyover projects.

The development plan, named the ‘Additional wide area traffic management project’, includes improvement of A.P.C. Road, New Park Street, S.P. Mukherjee Road, Deshapran Sashmal Road and relocation of the tram tracks on Maniktala Main Road, A.P.C. Road and Rashbehari Avenue.

“We had proposed construction of another flyover at Ballygunge Phari with the initial investment of the surplus amount. But they didn’t agree, as the financial agreement with them runs out in 2003 and the flyover can’t be built by then. So, the road upgradation plan was drawn up instead. We will start work soon, after we get the formal approval,’’ Prashant said.

Spelling out the belt-tightening measures, transport department officials said the cost of preliminary work for construction was minimised. Besides, the underground water pipeline and sewerage system at Gariahat and A.J.C Bose Road were completed without disturbing the existing system.

Money was also saved as the development projects at Shyambazar and Maniktala were shelved. “We kept a close watch and were careful not to misuse a single rupee, even though the funds were provided by the Japanese bank. Apart from our engineers and officers, the contractors were also committed to meet the deadline, since they knew they wouldn’t get any price escalation if work was delayed,’’ officials said.

“When work started, most people said the flyovers would take at least 10 years to complete and the expenditure would double. Now, it has been proved that both time and money can be saved through proper supervision and right planning,’’ said transport minister Subhas Chakraborty.

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