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State demands share of project cost hike

The state government will ask the Centre to pay half the amount by which costs of several infrastructure projects have gone up because of delays.

The projects include Parama flyover (cost estimated at Rs 331 crore), phase I of Vivekananda Road flyover (about Rs 220 crore), Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS) on the Eastern Metropolitan Bypass (about Rs 395 crore) and Nagerbazar flyover (about Rs 68 crore). The Union government will bear 35 per cent of the costs of these projects.

“We will soon meet Union urban development minister Jaipal Reddy in New Delhi. The Union government has only agreed to pay a portion of the project cost. We want them to pay half the amount by which cost has gone up as well,” said state urban development minister Asok Bhattacharya on Friday.

“There has been a nearly 30 per cent cost escalation of the projects and we want the Union government’s help to go ahead with the work. These are all statutory projects and this cost sharing is required to start work,” he added.

The urban development department has prepared detailed project reports for the BRTS scheme and the Park Circus and Vivekananda Road flyovers.

Last week, chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee met the Union urban development secretary M. Ramchandran in this regard.

“The Central public works department has given its nod for the Vivekananda Road flyover. The Centre wants drainage and sewage networks under the road to be shifted before work begins on the flyover. That will take Rs 30 crore,” said Bhattacharya.

Some of the other projects on the list are water supply scheme for Rajpur-Sonarpur municipality, drinking water supply project for Calcutta and its adjoining areas and drainage and sewage work in different parts of the city.

The minister claimed Bengal had sought Rs 1,100 crore from the Union government for upgrade and overhaul of the drainage and sewage system but the fund never came through, though Mumbai was provided with Rs 1,200 crore for similar work.

“It’s not that the Union government has shown any preference or discriminated against us. If we had got the money for the project, Calcutta’s sewage system would have been transformed,” said Bhattacharya.

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