While it’s no secret that the pace of implementation of public or government-funded projects picks up just when elections are round the corner, the Arvind Kejriwal regime has been on the ground over the last five years, raising landmarks dotting the cityscape and aiding the movement of commuters.
While many have already opened to the commuting public, some are on the anvil in the year ahead.
The ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which has already gone to town peddling its welfare schemes — free power upto 200 units of consumption and free surgeries and medical examinations at leading private hospitals, if the procedures are delayed at government-run healthcare facilities for a month or more — among others, completed 36 major infrastructure projects in the year that’s wounding to a close. These projects include construction of flyovers, ramps, underpasses and foot overbridges, and, 23 more such projects are in the pipeline.
According to a recent assessment report compiled by the AAP, a raft of pedestrian-friendly foot over bridges, underpasses, flyovers and ramps were completed and opened to commuters this year. These projects were implemented at a combined cost of Rs 4,061 crore. The report flies in the face of Opposition charges that the ruling party had only been finishing up projects announced during previous regimes.
The government has already set sights on completing 23 projects — that are yet to get off the ground or are under various stages of implementation — next year. However, there remains the little matter of seeking a renewed mandate from the voting public before hitting the ground with fresh zeal. These projects are to be completed at a combined cost of Rs 1,238 crore.
The report put together by the Delhi government further shows that the AAP, which took the hustings in 2015, has completed all major infrastructure projects, especially flyovers, FOBs, subways and underpasses, during its five years in power. The projects, however, includes a few that had been initiated during the erstwhile Sheila Dikshit government. The Signature Bridge project is a case in point.
For all its self-proclaimed work, the Kejriwal regime has often been in the line of fire from the Opposition, which has accused him of appropriating credit for projects mooted, cleared and initiated by governments that came before.
The report was presented by Public Works Department (PWD) minister Satyendar Jain, in response to a question posed by Bharatiya Janata Party MLA Om Prakash Sharma, during the last session of the Assembly held earlier this year.
According to the PWD report, the government, in 2015, constructed an elevated corridor or a flyover, stretching from Aazdpur to Prembari Pul, at a cost of Rs 136 crore.
In the following year, two ramps and six more flyovers were built, thus making for an extended elevated corridor linking Vikaspuri to Meera Bagh, Mangolpuri to Madhuban Chowk and Madhuban Chowk to Mukarba Chowk, and further extending to Bhalswa, Burari and Libaspur. The corridor was developed at a cost of Rs 1,164.8 crore.
In 2017, two ramps, two flyovers, as well as loops, were constructed at Mukundpur at a cost of Rs 168 crore. However, the biggest of them all — Signature Bridge, the flyover at Jagatpur and two ramps — were raised in 2018.
While the Signature Bridge, which comes with a viewing deck, 15-storey high and offering a stunning panoramic view of the city, was built at a cost of Rs 1,500 crore, the Jagatpur flyover and the two ramps were constructed at a combined cost of Rs 1,572 crore.
This year, the PWD completed the long-pending Rao Tula Ram flyover at Outer Ring at a cost of Rs 281.61 crore, as well as another at Mayur Vihar (Phase I) at Rs 45 crore.
Four more infrastructure projects, an elevated road over Barapullah, stretching from Jawaharlal Nehru stadium to Aurobindo Marg, and three bridges were also completed this year. The bridges were raised at a combined cost of Rs 15 crore.
A total of 19 FOBs across the national capital were also raised this year at a cumulative cost of Rs 50.25 crore. They were constructed in the interest of safety and security of pedestrians in a city, where there are more vehicles on roads than there are traffic signals.
“However, FOBs and flyovers, for all their worth, won’t contribute much to reducing the traffic problems plaguing the city. The solution lies in introducing more modes of public transport such as the Metro. I believe the city’s underground and elevated Metro corridors should be extended, linking the last lane of the city. It should be developed as the most viable mode of public transport. It should be equipped with all the modern amenities, befitting an aspirational city, thereby ensuring a hassle-free ride,” PK Sarkar, director, planning, the Asian Institute of Transport Development (AITD), told this newspaper.
“In Delhi, where the volume of traffic goes by 7-8 per cent every year, flyovers are just a piecemeal measure that doesn’t attack the problem at source. FOBs aren’t conducive for pedestrians either. In leading countries, humps have offered a far better commuting solution for pedestrians. I feel the (Delhi) government should also work on similar limes. As there’s plenty of money riding on these infrastructure projects, proper thought should be put into implementing them,” Sarkar said.
“All projects that have been completed till date were initiated by previous regimes. This government is anti-development. Most of the projects which they claim to have completed this year were largely done by the time they came to power in 2015. They failed to complete these projects on time,” said senior BJP leader Vijender Gupta.
“It was our government that built a lot of the infrastructure that the AAP is taking credit for. Their advertisements are full of lies. The report on road infrastructure that they have tabled in the Assembly is misleading,” Delhi Congress chief Subhash Chopra said.
Blueprint ready, not bridges
According to a study commissioned by AITD, Aurobindo Marg is considered as one of the busiest roads in the national capital, thereby making it one of the most dangerous for pedestrians. The study says two FOBs have been planned on this stretch — one near Yusuf Sarai and another near Azad Apartments. However, none of them have yet to see the light of day.
Projects in 2019
Flyovers/elevated corridors built 10
Foot overbridges constructed 9
Bridges built 4
Ramps constructed 7
Loop built 1
Upcoming projects in 2020
Foot overbridges to be constructed 10
Subway to be built 1
Flyovers proposed to be constructed 2
Bridges to be built and a comprehensive elevated corridor plan to be laid out 4