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Court drives flyover hope

- Prod to complete stalled project by end of the year

Calcutta High Court on Friday asked the government and infrastructure firm HCC to ensure that people were able to drive through the Parama-Park Circus flyover by the year-end.

“Please see that we are able to drive our vehicles on the flyover by the year-end,” Justice Dipankar Datta told lawyers representing both sides even as he considered a petition filed by HCC two days ago.

HCC has dragged the government to court over the termination of its original contract to build what is to be Calcutta’s longest flyover at 8.14km. The company has also challenged the Calcutta Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA)’s decision not to hand it the re-tendered contract despite its quote being the lower of two bids.

Justice Datta asked the state government to elucidate its stand on the impasse by next Wednesday and HCC to give its grievances in writing to government pleader Ashoke Banerjee by evening. “Whatever you have to say, give it in writing to the government pleader. Let him consult his minister and come back with their views on Wednesday,” the judge told lawyers S.K. Kapur and Sanjay Ginodia, representing HCC.

The Mumbai-based company, whose completed projects include the Bandra-Worli sea link, said it was keen to complete the Parama-Park Circus flyover within a reasonable budget.

The CMDA would, of course, need to hand over the required land without any delay, HCC’s legal team said.

The company is understood to have submitted a few other conditions in writing to government pleader Banerjee.

By “required land”, HCC means portions of the roads that have to be barricaded for construction and/or to shift the underground water lines, sewers and telephone and electricity cables by digging up the thoroughfare.

One of the stretches that the CMDA had failed to hand over to HCC on time is the one along Silver Spring, near Science City. In its petition, HCC said the agency handed it only 56 per cent of the required land during the original tenure of the project, which was 30 months from the start of construction in January 2010.

The government told the court on Friday that it was keen to complete the flyover as quickly as possible, but the expenditure should not exceed Rs 257 crore. That is the estimate submitted by project consultant RITES and mentioned in the latest tender advertisement published on February 18.

Sources said HCC had agreed to do the job for Rs 257 crore “in principle”, an amount less than what it had quoted in its bid. The company’s original contract had been terminated last December over a cost-escalation claim of Rs 230 crore on account of delays in handing over some project sites.

The unfinished portion of the Parama-Park Circus flyover includes a ramp that is supposed to start near Silver Spring and merge with the main arm at the Parama crossing a little distance ahead.

Work on the stretch between the No. 4 Bridge and the Park Circus seven-point crossing hasn’t even started. An arm of the flyover supposed to run above Congress Exhibition Road and merge with the AJC Bose Road flyover is also still to be built.