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Go slow on fast track

With a year to go for the Assembly elections, Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee's 'do-it-now' slogan is drifting towards 'do-it-later'.

The failure to turn idea into implementation, pipedream into project, paperwork into plan of action, start-up into finished form finds roots in reasons ranging from paucity of funds to lack of political will, litigation loophole to bureaucratic bungling, technical trouble to plain indifference.

Here's pausing at some of the go-slow projects of a government purportedly on the fast track:

Kidderpore bridge:
Started in 1997, the Rs 20-crore project is lying unfinished from 1999 after detection of a technical fault. The bridge will have to be built afresh. So, the easiest thing to do is to do nothing at all.

BoNDEL GATE FLYOVER:
Work began on the Rs 21-crore project in 1995 but in 2005, the flyover could still take at least another year to complete. Cost escalation is pegged at Rs 15 crore.

PARK STREET FLYOVER:
Work on the Rs 69-crore project, being executed by the Senbo-Skanska joint venture, started on November 15, 2001. What was meant to be a 24-month project is yet to become operational. Final (flexible') deadline: February 19.

VIVEKANANDA ROAD FLYOVER:
Once scheduled to open in 2003, the Rs 54-crore project lies buried somewhere under the mountain of files at Writers' Buildings, since 2000.

ALTERNATIVE FAIR GROUND:
That's where all the Maidan fairs were supposed to have gone by now. And the early-2006 deadline for the 17.61 acres off the EM Bypass seems as far from reality as the Maidan is from salvation.

RENOVATION OF NETAJI INDOOR STADIUM:
The Rs 5-crore project proposal is gathering dust on the tables of the finance department, from 2002.

CANAL NAVIGATION:
The Rs 150-crore project was flagged off in 2001, but in the fourth year, it is floundering with just desilting of a few metres of the Keshtopur canal to show.

TRAM TRACK REPAIR:
Tram tracks in an advanced state of decay have remained untouched since 2001 and a Rs 53-crore proposal has failed to go on track. Stretches hosting such tram tracks continue to be roads to avoid.

RAICHAK-KUKRAHATI BRIDGE:
The Rs 200-crore project finally found a sponsor in the form of DFID. But the UK body all but pulled out due to the lackadaisical attitude of the state government.

The project has recently been revived again, at the behest of the chief minister. Don't ask about the timeline.

UNDERGROUND CAR PARK AT LALDIGHI:
Supposed to house about 450 cars, the project has been grounded despite expressions of interest (EOI) having been floated in 2001. Present status: another round of EOIs.

CURZON PARK REVAMP:
The final feasibility study report has been submitted to the PWD minister by the consortium of two Singapore firms, Surbana and SembCorp and Bengal Pragati.

If ' and that's a big if ' the government gives the nod in a hurry, the heart of the business hub could wear a whole new look by autumn 2007. Otherwise, the rats will continue to rule.

AND, FINALLY:
Auto-emission testing centres: There were meant to be 70 units by October 2004. With the year having turned, the number is creeping up to 50. When will we breathe easy'

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