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Poll to poll,overbridge work stays hanging

Five years after NCP chief Sharad Pawar performed its bhoomi pujan,on the eve of the 2004 general elections...

Five years after NCP chief Sharad Pawar performed its bhoomi pujan,on the eve of the 2004 general elections,a forgotten overbridge work at Nashik Phata Chowk in Pimpri-Chinchwad will begin -possibly -two months from now and at a two-fold cost overrun. At least that’s the promise from the Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC).

“The tender process for initiating the Nashik Phata overbridge has begun. The work should start in next two months after a contractor is appointed,” said PCMC city engineer Eknath Ugile. The overbridge will be constructed under JNNURM at a cost of Rs 92 crore with the PCMC contributing a share of Rs 36 crore,he said.

The 1100-metre-long overbridge is said to be the only one in the state that will fly over road,rail and the river. From Nashik Phata Chowk to Wakad,the PCMC plans to construct a 7.79-kilometre road that will emerge directly on the Katraj Bypass facilitating easy travel to Satara and Mumbai. The Nashik Phata to Wakad road will be part of the Bus Rapid Transit System.

“We have received NOCs from the Railways,the Ministry of Road and Surface Transport and the Public Works Department,” said PCMC deputy engineer Sanjay Bhosale. The overbridge,said Bhosale,will be constructed in such a way that it will offer uninterrupted movement of traffic. “It will be a signal free travel in all directions ensuring speedy getaway from Pimpri-Chinchwad. On Bhosari side,the overbridge will be double-storey,” he said.

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Construction companies with an annual turnover of Rs 70 crore have been invited for the bid. “The companies should be experienced in constructing overbridges and flyovers. The process is being done through e-tendering. So only when tenders are opened will we come to know who the bidders are,” Bhosale said.

Five years ago,when Pawar peformed the bhoomi pooja,the overbridge was slated to cost Rs 30 crore. It was supposed to be built by the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation. “However,after a dispute with MSRDC we decided to build the bridge on our own,” Ugile said. The cost of the project has now escalated to Rs 92 crore. “That is because cement,that used to cost Rs 90 per bag,now costs Rs 240 per bag. Steel that was available for Rs 10,000 per tonne now costs Rs 36,000 a tonne,” civic officials said.

Former MLA Gajanan Babar,who was present at the function in February 2004,had then said the overbridge work was an election gimmick and would never take off. On Monday,he repeated the allegation. “This time too,it is being discussed with an eye on the elections. Since the land is not yet in possession of the PCMC,how will it construct the 7.79-km-long road? The PCMC is trying to mislead the citizens,” he alleged.

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Babar said instead of the overbridge,it would have made sense had the PCMC gone for a ring road. “It would have benefited residents in both Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad,” he said.

First published on: 03-03-2009 at 01:54:06 am
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