May 8, 2021 7:28:12 pm
Key infrastructure projects have been put on hold as the capital grapples with the ‘fourth wave’ of Covid-19, with several construction sites now empty and labourers having left for their hometowns. Officials said deadlines for projects that were supposed to be completed this year will be pushed by a few months, depending on when the lockdown is lifted.
An official of the Public Works Department (PWD) said project deadlines will be extended by the number of days the lockdown is on for, plus another 30-40 days to mobilise labour forces. “Since a majority of labourers have gone home, all projects are on hold. It will take a month or so to call labourers back from their hometowns after the lockdown is lifted,” said the official.
The Chandni Chowk Redevelopment project was among those nearing completion. The project’s inauguration, scheduled for April 17, was cancelled by the Delhi government owing to a rise in cases. An official from MIA Construction Pvt Limited, the company working on the redevelopment, said, “Most of our labourers went to their hometowns when the lockdown was announced… 95 per cent of work on the project was done. The scramble junction in front of Red Fort is only half complete since work on that began a few days before the lockdown.”
Meanwhile, work on the Pragati Maidan Integrated Transit Corridor, aimed at reducing traffic around India Gate and Ring Road, was scheduled to wrap up by May-end. An official working on the project also said the deadline revision depends on how long the lockdown is on for. The project that began in 2017 was stalled once in 2019 due to the construction ban in winter because of pollution, and once again last year when Covid cases rose in the capital.
Similarly, other projects such as Ashram Underpass and extension of Ashram to DND are likely to miss deadlines. The Ashram Underpass was scheduled to be completed by June and Ashram extension by December. Last year, officials working on the project told The Indian Express that work was stalled due to labour shortage and it took some time for them to return to work.
Beautification work of seven road stretches covering 35 km was also expected to be completed by October this year. The deadline for this is likely to be extended too. The official said, “Almost all projects will see a minimum two-month delay due to the lockdown.”
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