Jehangir Chowk-Rambagh flyover completion to miss second deadline

Under construction Jehangir Chowk-Rambagh flyover in Srinagar. — Excelsior/Shakeel
Under construction Jehangir Chowk-Rambagh flyover in Srinagar. — Excelsior/Shakeel

Adil Lateef
Srinagar, Feb 12: The ambitious Rs 350 crore Jehangir Chowk-Rambagh Flyover, which is expected to ease traffic woes here in city centre, is all set to miss second deadline of its completion this March set by Jammu and Kashmir Economic Reconstr-uction Agency (JKERA) as only 55 percent physical work has been completed so far.
The flyover, on which work began in 2013, is being financed by Asian Development Bank (ADB) and is thought to considerably reduce the traffic congestion in Srinagar city centre and provide quick access to International Airport. The project is being executed by ERA with Simplex Infra Limited as project contractor.
Director ERA Kashmir, Satish Razdan, told Excelsior that the March 2017 deadline fixed by them will be missed as the work on the flyover remained suspended for five months last year due to violent unrest after July 8. He said that soon after the agitation began, the skilled outstation workers fled Kashmir due to fear and majority of them have not returned yet. “We had 800 highly skilled workers involved in the flyover construction until July 8 but soon after the unrest, they fearing for their lives, fled Valley,” he said.
Razdan said that though after five months, the work was resumed on the project but only 150 skilled workers are involved. “Although the situation improved but they are not ready to return. One of the factors for this could be winter,” he said, adding that due to these factors the work on the project got slowed down even after resumption in the aftermath of unrest. “In these circumstances, it is nearly impossible to meet March 2017 deadline,” he said.
Once completed, the 2.4-km flyover is expected to reduce the journey time from Jehangir Chowk to Rambagh from 28 minutes to just 2.5 minutes and will go a long way in reducing the traffic congestion, which has taken heavy toll on commuters. The Director ERA said that the project is likely to take some 8-9 months and they are holding a meeting in this regard for fixing another deadline on March 15.”The work is on right now and the machinery has been mobilized but final call will be taken next month,” the Director added.
Officials of the ERA involved directly in the project work said that “there is no possibility of completion of the construction of flyover this year”. “Earlier, we have had floods in September 2014 which prolonged the work and now last year’s unrest. Prior to unrest, the work was going on in full swing. But, the work completion is impossible in 2017. Also, we may have to pay more money to the contactor,” they said.
Earlier, the deadline for the completion of the project was September 2016 – three years after it was started. The work on the project has been divided into 4 sections – A, B, C and D. With the work remaining incomplete, there is no end in sight to the traffic mess on Jehangir Chowk-Rambagh axis, resulting in unprecedented difficulties to thousands of commuters everyday travelling on this route.