Key infrastructure projects in Srinagar face delay, cost escalation: ERA

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SRINAGAR: Several key developmental projects in Kashmir especially in Srinagar including the vital Jehangir Chowk-Rambagh flyover are facing delays and missing deadlines in view of the prevailing law and order situation.

“Various key projects are not only facing delays but massive cost escalations due to the prevailing situation as the labor from outside the state have abandoned the works and the machinery deployed by contractors is lying idle,” Chief Executive Officer, Economic Reconstruction Agency (ERA), Mr Vinod Sharma said while chairing a meeting to discuss alternate strategies for completion of these projects.

The meeting was informed that the Sanitary Landfill Site Cell at Achhan aimed at city waste disposal has been delayed due to lack of availability of good earth forcing the Municipal Corporation to dump the waste in open leading to unhygienic conditions. The project was scheduled to be completed by end of this month. 

Similarly, construction of Jehangir Chowk-Rambagh flyover and expressway corridor in Srinagar city has been abandoned as more than 600 skilled, semi-skilled labourers from outside the state left for their homes leaving the worksites, the meeting was told. “Mobilization of such a large number of skilled laborers is expected to take another 3-4 months which is likely to delay the project beyond March 2017 which is pertinently the closing date for ADB loan for the project.” 

The CEO said that projects like multi-storied mechanized parking facility in Lal Chowk, up-gradation of 27 Pumping Stations, construction of surface water drainage system in Athwajan along national highway bye pass, raw water pipeline from higher reaches of Doodhganga to Water Treatment Plant Kralpora, storm water drainage system from Rawalpora Chowk to Chanapora bridge and other projects taken up by ERA with loan from Asian Development Bank (ADB) are also facing similar delays due to skilled and semi-skilled labourers abandoning the construction sites in middle of last month, lack of requisite construction material including cement, sand, good earth, metal and equipment at sites. 

In view of March 2017 deadline fixed by the Asian Development Bank the Government earlier this week had asked the Economic Reconstruction Agency (ERA) to workout plan for taking up construction work in double shift as and when the situation normalizes.

The CEO said delays in these projects would lead to lack of requisite funding thereby depriving a large population and area in the Valley from vital facilities and projects which have been planned and under execution after hectic efforts of the government.

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