Week on, work on Rambagh flyover yet to resume

ERA, executing agency pass buck

MUKEET AKMALI
Srinagar, Publish Date: May 25 2018 12:36AM | Updated Date: May 25 2018 12:36AM
Week on, work on Rambagh flyover yet to resumeFile Photo

The work on the Jehangir Chowk-Rambagh flyover project has remained suspended for a week now due to non-payment of bills to laborers forcing them to boycott work.

Jammu and Kashmir Economic Reconstruction Agency has outsourced the construction of expressway corridor to Simplex Infrastructure Private Limited, whose job is to supply laborers, construction material etc. The executing agency (Simplex infrastructures) has failed to clear payments of workers, contractors hired for the project who in protest have stopped supply of material and boycotted work, thus halting construction of the flyover.

Both the ERA and Simplex infrastructure are now blaming each other for the mess. “Government authorities took time to clear bills which affected the project work,” said a senior executive of Simplex Infrastructure.

“Work has been halted as the workers have boycotted work since their payments have not been cleared. ERA is not directly dealing with workers. It is Simplex Infrastructure Company which hired them and have to clear dues of contractors as well as workers,” said Farooq Lone, Chief Executive Officer JKERA. “We have held several deliberations with them and reconciled on payment matters. I am hopeful that in next couple of days work will resume.”

The Rs 350 crore expressway corridor project earlier missed many timelines, forcing the government to inaugurate the flyover in phases. “Work has been halted from couple of days due to strike of work by laborers, workers who have payment issues with the executing agency,” said an ERA official.

Recently Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti threw open the first phase of the Jehangir Chowk-Rambagh expressway corridor from the Amar Singh College area to the Barazulla bridge here. Built at a cost of Rs 350 crore by the Jammu and Kashmir Economic Reconstruction Agency (J&KERA), the Asian Development Bank-funded project is expected to decongest the traffic on the road towards Barazulla and Srinagar airport and the time to cover the area would also be reduced to a great extent.

The flyover project was announced in July 2009 and was supposed to be completed in three years. The construction work could not take off due to various issues, including rehabilitation of affected shopkeepers. Finally, work was started in September 2013 with a three-year deadline for its completion. However, the area from Jehangir Chowk to Ram Bagh was badly affected in the 2014 floods, forcing the authorities to extend the deadline.

Nearly six-month-long 2016 unrest also caused disruption in the work. The first deadline for its completion was September 2016. Due to the delay in completion of the project, the southern part of the city continues to witness traffic jams causing inconvenience to thousands of commuters every day.

The 2.4 Km flyover is expected to reduce the travel time from Jehangir Chowk to Rambagh from 28 minutes to 2.5 minutes.

 

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