The flyovers are still lagging behind time. Despite announcing that the flyovers “would be completed on time”, officials of the Hooghly River Bridge Commissioners (HRBC), in charge of supervising work of the AJC Bose Road, Park Street and Lockgate flyovers, have finally come to terms with the fact that the original deadline cannot be met.
The AJC Bose Road flyover will open four days behind schedule because the rains have hampered work on the stretch of road over which vehicles will ply. The flyover, scheduled to be opened on August 15, will now be inaugurated on August 19.
The deadline for opening the Park Street and Lockgate flyovers, targeted to have been completed by November 14, has been shifted significantly to March 31 and February 28 next year.
“We have revised the targets, as work was far behind schedule,” said joint secretary of the state transport department Prashant. “We had to relocate some Metro Railway structures and they (the Metro authorities) delayed in giving us the necessary clearances, which resulted in the Park Street flyover deadline going awry,” he said.
The Lockgate flyover, on the other hand, was delayed due to belated clearance by Eastern Railway for removing some of their structures, according to an HRBC official.
However, Metro Railway and Eastern Railway denied the charges. Ashok Gupta, chief engineer of Metro Railway, said: “This is an unfair allegation. They have themselves delayed the work. These are just excuses to justify the delay.” A senior Eastern Railway official said: “There was no delay on our part. We did everything to help HRBC.”
What the HRBC authorities are worried about is that the revised targets are dangerously close to the date of financial closure of the projects — May 29, 2004. A major part of the work of pillars, slabs, railings, piers, lighting arrangements, parapets and road stretches below is yet to be over for both flyovers.
Sadhan Banerjee, HRBC vice-chairman, said: “The Park Street and Lockgate flyovers are 55 per cent and 60 per cent complete, respectively.”
According to the contract, Japan Bank of International Cooperation will freeze the account on May 29, 2004, even if the work is not complete. If the May 29 deadline is missed, the government will have to fend for itself.
Prashant, however, maintained that all work would be completed by then.
But an officer, earlier associated with the projects, said: “It requires at least three months to close the projects financially after the actual construction work is completed. There are barely two months left between the revised target of completion and financial closure of the work.”