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Signature Bridge project will be completed by October end following which the trial run would be conducted, PWD tells court

~By Kunal Rao

The Public Works Department (PWD) has informed the Delhi High Court that the Signature Bridge would be completed by October end following which the trial run would be conducted. The submissions come after the court had rapped the authorities on the last date for delaying the project.

Following this, a bench of Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice V Kameswar Rao posted the matter for November stating that the matter would be heard after the project is completed.

“List the matter in second week of November to enable the respondents (authorities) to complete the project and do the trial and file a report,” the bench said.

The court was hearing a plea by an advocate Pratibha Chopra who raised concern over the inordinate delay in the Signature Bridge project and alleged the construction of the bridge had missed several deadlines since 2011.

Even at an earlier hearing, the court had rapped the authorities for “quibbling over” the amount to be paid for the construction of the long overdue Signature Bridge.

It had also called for the physical inspection of the bridge by the various authorities and to take a stock of the progress of the work.

Conceptualized in 2004, the Signature Bridge project was approved by the Delhi Cabinet in 2007. However, even after 15 years, the bridge is yet to be completed. It connects Delhi with Uttar Pradesh’s industrial areas such as the Tronica City in Ghaziabad.

In July 2017, the Aam Aadmi government released Rs 100 crore for the project and set a new deadline of March 2018, which was further pushed to April 2018, June 2018, and now to October 2018.

Constant delays have escalated the cost of the project. Initially, it was estimated to cost around Rs 887 crore, which rose to Rs 1,131 crore in 2013. The DTTDC in 2016 sent a revised estimate of Rs 1,575 crore to the government for approval and the government released Rs 1,414 crore. The PWD sought an expert opinion by the Central Public Works Department (CPWD) on its demand for an additional Rs 161 crore.

—India Legal Bureau

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