The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Delay frown on party protege
- Senbo pledges Jan. 26 flyover opening

An Alimuddin Street favourite has proved an embarrassment for Writers' Buildings.

Construction company Senbo on Wednesday earned a ticking-off for the Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee government from the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC).

The cause of complaint ' a one-year delay in finishing the Park Street flyover with funds provided by the bank.

'Work on this bridge appears to be going on and on, without an end in sight. We can see that the two ends are yet to join, the side roads are still not laid out, the surface of the bridge ramps is weak, the underbelly still unprepared'. Enough, now give us a date for its inauguration,' visiting JBIC officials told transport secretary Sumantra Chowdhury, standing on the unfinished Park Street flyover.

On his part, Chowdhury committed a January 26, 2005, inauguration date for the Park Street flyover to chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, who is learnt to be 'rather unhappy' at the Senbo slow motion.

'I can say the work on improving the roads by the side of the Park Street bridge will be over within November 15, the two ends will join within November 30 and the entire construction will be over by December 31. The Republic Day inauguration is final and non-negotiable,' Chowdhury told JBIC officials Fusato Tanaka and Vineet Sareen.

'Work was delayed due to blocking of payments and certain technical problems,' explained Kajal Sengupta, director of Senbo. 'Now that things have been sorted out, I am committing myself to readying the flyover by December 31,' he added.

A favourite of the CPM leadership, Senbo was also responsible for the delayed construction of the Gariahat flyover, where the ground-level work is still going on.

The JBIC team also visited the AJC Bose Road, Lockgate and Gariahat flyovers, besides inspecting the widening of different roads and the dereservation of tram tracks carried out in the past year.

While meeting chief secretary Ashok Gupta at Writers' Buildings, the JBIC officials also pointed out that work remained unfinished beneath the Gariahat flyover and on the two approaches to the Lockgate flyover.

Transport department officials blamed it on the rains and said it would all be completed by November 30.

'We are unhappy with the overall progress of work because the deadline had to be extended a few times in respect of the Park Street flyover and so on' However, it is nice to see that things have started moving and we hope the projects will be completed within the year-end,' Tanaka later said.

At Writers', a proposal to spend the surplus Rs 40 crore JBIC funds was submitted for a package of five new projects (see box).

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