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Flyover down the drain
- Demolition brainwave after burning crores
The Kidderpore flyover. Picture by Amit Datta

Calcutta, April 20: After seven long years, the government has realised the Kidderpore flyover has a design fault. The half-finished flyover, which has so far cost Rs 4 crore, will be completely demolished to pave the way for reconstruction.

Instead of standing on twin columns, as now, the flyover will stand on a single column to allow construction of two parallel roads under it.

The Hooghly River Bridge Commissioners (HRBC), the project’s implementing agency, has prepared a Rs 34-crore reconstruction plan and hopes to start work in a couple of months. The modified project is expected to be completed in two years.

The Assembly subject committee on transport, at its meeting on Monday, slammed HRBC officials for their “inefficiency and lack of foresight” which led to waste of time and public money. “At least Rs 4 crore has gone down the drain in the past seven years. Besides, it has caused inconvenience to the local people and traffic disruption. Who will compensate the loss'” asked the chairman of the subject committee, Sadhan Pande.

“HRBC officials and engineers, entrusted with the construction, have failed miserably. I have already brought the matter to the notice of chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee,” he said.

Flyover construction was flagged off in 1997 with a cost estimate of Rs 20 crore. It was meant to have taken off around Fancy Market on Garden Reach Circular Road and come down near the approach road to Vidyasagar Setu and was scheduled to be completed by 2000. However, after three years, only a portion of the flyover could be built near the Kidderpore-end. That was where it was left, not to be touched again.

A number of shanties have come up on it.

“We undertook a thorough scrutiny of the work done and detected some technical faults. If the construction is carried out in accordance with the existing plan, a number of problems will arise and defeat the very purpose for which the project was undertaken. Hence we have decided to construct the flyover anew,” said HRBC vice-chairman Sadhan Banerjee.

He added that construction was started without keeping in mind the need to build two parallel roads under the flyover. “We will also have to change the building technology to ensure speedy construction as well as use of less space. These considerations have prompted us to modify the scheme,’’ Banerjee said.

He would not blame anyone for the lapse. “I cannot say who was at fault or why the construction was delayed as I took over only a year ago.”

HRBC engineers do not want to admit that it was a fault. “We are modifying the plan to get a better result. As the construction was started hurriedly at that time, the problems were overlooked,” they said. The flyover will now be built with pre-fabricated material as was done in the AJC Bose Road and Gariahat constructions.

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