Post ADB visit, work starts on Rambagh flyover

Mir Iqbal

Authorities start work on flyover. —Excelsior/Amin War

SRINAGAR, June 21: Weeks after a two members team of  Asian Development Bank (ADB) held talks with shopkeepers over the construction of flyover from Jahangir Chowk to Rambagh junction, the Economic Reconstruction Agency (ERA) has started  its work on 2.4 kilometer long project.
The officials of ERA said that the work began with demolition of a portion of Shergarhi police station building then followed by some other building, which was coming under the flyover.
He said shopkeepers at Magarmal Bagh crossing and Jahangir Chowk had gone to court demanding their proper rehabilitation or full compensation for which he said the area is sub-judice, but can start work at other places.
“After demolition of some building on the way to Rambagh crossing, we started work from Sericulture Department near Tulsibagh to Rambagh crossing,” he said adding that the area has no structures coming under the project.
The shopkeepers also said that after their meeting with ADB team, they wrote an e-mail to the ADB team, and the team in reply assured them of proper rehabilitation and full compensation.
“After our meeting with ADB team, we wrote to them and asked them for our promised rehabilitation, they replied that their shops will be shifted to back at make the road wide at their proposed location,” said Abdul Rouf, one of the shopkeepers.
He said that the ADB team has also directed ERA officials to inform the displaced shopkeepers before one month about the demolition of their shops.
“The ADB team in reply to our e-mail has assured that the shopkeepers will be informed one month before demolition of our shops,” he said.
Meanwhile, the shopkeepers said that if their genuine demands are not met, they will again appear before the court to get stay on the work, until their proper rehabilitation.
The ERA officials said that they have raised the amount from Rs 100 crore to Rs 150 crore for the rehabilitation of affected traders.
“The contract for construction of the flyover has been accorded to Simplex Infra Limited for an amount of Rs 200 crore, whereas Rs 150 crore has been earmarked for the land acquisition and rehabilitation of the affected traders,” one of the top officials of ERA said.
He said that once the flyover is completed, the 2.4-km flyover will reduce the journey time from Jehangir Chowk to Rambagh from 28 minutes to just 2.5 minutes and will help in reducing the traffic congestion in the area between Lal Chowk and airport in Humhama.
Pertinently, the Asian Development Bank funded this project was approved in October 2009, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah had set three-year deadline to get the project completed, but the work on the flyover is yet to start as almost 387 shopkeepers and commercial establishments are demanding proper rehabilitation instead of their proposed rehabilitation in two complexes constructed at Rambagh and Jahangir Chowk.