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Sunday, August 01, 2021

Chandni Chowk to DND-Ashram: Deadlines for key Delhi projects revised

The deadlines of most projects have been delayed by about 2 months as labourers started leaving for their hometowns when the national capital went under a Covid-induced lockdown.

Written by Ashna Butani | New Delhi |
June 13, 2021 9:42:58 am
In the last quarter of 2019-2020, when construction GVA grew at nearly 8 per cent, employment in the same sector grew by 3 per cent based on our estimates from CMIE-CPHS. (Representational Photo)

The deadlines of most ongoing infrastructure projects across Delhi have been revised by over 2 months owing to the Covid-induced lockdown that forced a pause in work as labourers started leaving for their hometowns.

Although work has resumed, the pace remains sluggish.

An official of the Public Works Department (PWD) said around 50 per cent of labourers have come back and work will start in full swing by early July. Workers are coming back from their hometowns slowly as contract companies are arranging vehicles for their return.

“The deadlines will be revised on a case-to-case basis,” an official said.

For instance, the inauguration of the redeveloped Chandni Chowk was scheduled for April 17 but was cancelled due to the Covid situation. The Central verge is almost complete with only a few street lights and CCTVs to be set up. Meanwhile, one side of the scramble crossing in front of Red Fort has been completed and work on the other side has started recently as well. The scramble crossing will allow pedestrians to cross in all directions, and also ensure that the theme of the area is in tune with redeveloped Chandni Chowk. Officials said that the work will be wrapped up by the first or second week of July.

Meanwhile, at the DND-Ashram extension site, piling work and widening of road is in progress and officials are awaiting approval to transplant trees and shift utilities. The progress sheet of the project read: “Overall progress of the work has been badly hampered due to sudden migration of labour from the site due to the second wave of Covid.” Despite this, officials aim to complete it by its original deadline of December 2021. The six-lane flyover will connect DND to the existing Ashram flyover and serve as an important link between West, South, East Delhi and Noida.

On the other hand, the June deadline for the Ashram underpass has now been shifted to August 31. A fresh deadline for Barapullah Phase III will be announced after a land issue is resolved.

A senior official of the PWD said that a fresh date has not been announced for the beautification of seven road stretches spanning over 35 km. “It was supposed to be completed by October but might be delayed by 1.5 months or so,” the official added.

In some projects, a shortage of labour is not the only issue. At the site of the Pragati Maidan Integrated Transit Corridor, labourers stayed back as accommodation had been provided by the contract company. However, an official said, “5-6 site engineers had fallen ill and work had slowed down when Covid cases hit a peak.” The project, scheduled for completion by May-end, will be completed in the coming month, officials added. The project comprises a 1.2-km-long tunnel and six underpasses at key junctions in the area.

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