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Fast forward on flyovers

The chief minister has found a pet hate — the flyovers left hanging around town.

Several times last week, Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee called senior ministers and bureaucrats to his chamber to drill home just one point: do something about those unfinished flyovers, or else…

Early this week, fresh from his successful showcasing of Bengal at a roadshow in Mumbai, Bhattacharjee rolled out a flyover time-table, too.

“These flyovers must be commissioned this year,” he said. “I am visiting other states to showcase Bengal, whereas there is nothing but a mess in my own backyard. This can’t go on,” he told one of the ministers.

On Thursday, transport secretary Sumantra Chowdhury chose the unfinished Park Street flyover, on Chowringhee Road, as the right platform to read the riot act to implementing agency Hooghly River Bridge Commissioners (HRBC) and contractor Senbo.

“We are tired of your excuses for the delay in constructing the flyover,” Chowdhury told Senbo chief executive Kajol Sengupta.

Known for his proximity to the CPM brass, Sengupta cited delayed payments, construction problems and uncertainties in procurement of steel as causes for the slowdown.

“I want to drive up to the middle of the flyover with the chief secretary on September 15 and then accompany the chief minister on a point-to-point drive in November. How you do it is your problem,’’ Chowdhury told Sengupta.

“I shall complete the flyover within the November deadline, provided my payments are not blocked,” declared Sengupta.

The fast forward on flyovers comes a month before a team from the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) visits the city. The government is keen to pitch for more infrastructure development funds and a wider association with JBIC at the September 22 meeting.

The bid for fresh JBIC funds, to the tune of Rs 4,000 crore, could collapse if the visiting team frowns on the unfinished flyovers. The fresh JBIC funds are needed for the East-West Metro, the East Calcutta Development Project and the Raichak-Kukrahati bridge.

“Please remember, there are several states pitching for JBIC funds, so we must put our house in order first,” Bhattacharjee told ministers Asok Bhattacharya, Subhas Chakraborty and Amar Chowdhury this week.

Urban development minister Bhattacharya will visit the Lake Gardens flyover on Friday and the Sonarpur flyover next week, while PWD minister Chowdhury will inspect the Bondel Gate site on Saturday.

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