Tuesday, July 6, 2010

CP subways fail Commonwealth Games deadline

Crossing the road at the busy Outer Circle of Connaught Place will remain a potential hazard for your life, even during the Commonwealth Games, for which the commercial centre is being beautified. The New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) said only three of the nine subways in CP will be ready for the Games.
The remaining six may take up to a year more. Earlier, NDMC had promised to take just eight months to renovate CP’s five subways and build four new ones. Now, only subways at Janpath, Baba Kharak Singh Marg and Super Bazaar will be ready by August-end.

“The four new subways we were planning won’t be ready for the Games. But we will try to finish work on the existing ones, which are being renovated. But they will be opened without escalators and CCTVs,” Anand Tiwari, NDMC spokes-man, told Hindustan Times.

"We wanted to complete the construction of subways before the Games but removing and relocating the underground services is proving to be a huge task. There are trunk sewers and many other cables that have to be removed."

For the Games, NDMC had planned eight new subways in Outer Circle. But the traffic police gave permission for only four -- two at Panchkuian Road and two at Barakhamba Road.

Although officially the NDMC claimed it would finish renovation of all five existing subways, those handling the projects said only three would be ready for the Games,

"The subways at Baba Kharak Singh Marg, Super Bazaar and Janpath will be ready by the end of the month but without the escalators. But subways at KG Marg and Sansad Marg are likely to miss the deadline," said an official who did not wish to be named.

The NDMC started digging half the carriageway of Outer Circle in December. From January onwards, traffic movement was restricted to a single lane and all subways shut. Taking note of the huge traffic snarls, Lieutenant Governor Tejendra Khanna ordered the NDMC to build just four of the eight subways planned. But since the subways remained shut, crossing the busy road continues to be a nightmare.

Being the central business district and one of Delhi's biggest markets, CP gets a huge number of shoppers and office-goers. The Rajiv Chowk Metro station, in the middle of CP, sees a daily footfall of 3.5 lakh passengers. "Even if half of them don't catch another train and step out, CP should be getting at least 1.75 lakh pedestrians," said a showroom owner.

The New Delhi Traders Association (NDTA) said NDMC was being over-ambitious by undertaking construction of the new and existing subways simultaneously. "The shopkeepers suffered huge losses due to the construction and now they are saying work will not be complete. If they are not going to install escalators, why did they break down the existing subways? The idea of renovating them was to put these things. Otherwise, they were fine the way they were," said Atul Bahrgava, president, NDTA.  

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