CHANDIGARH: In an embarrassment for Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB), the Rs 80 crore project for construction of underpasses in the city has been taken over from the nodal agency and handed over to the municipal corporation.
The plan has remained on paper despite availability of budget sanctioned by ministry of home affairs during the last two financial years. CHB was assigned the task of construction of eight underpasses in the city to ease traffic congestion. The decision was taken at a meeting convened by UT administrator Shivraj Patil to review utilization of budget by various UT departments.
"Taking serious note of the delay in the construction of much-awaited project of underpasses by the administration, Patil gave direction to officers concerned to transfer the underpass project to municipal corporation," said a spokesperson of the administration. The need for expediting the project of computerization of the Punjab and Haryana high court records was also underlined in the meeting attended by top brass of the administration.
For the financial year 2012-13, MHA had made an allocation of Rs 5 crore for construction of eight underpasses at Press Chowk, Transport Chowk, Piccadilly Chowk, ISBT-17, Kisan Bhawan, Cricket Stadium and Matka Chowk and Aroma light-point. But there was no headway, with the project being stuck at planning stage.
To ease growing traffic congestion on Chandigarh"s main artery Madhya Marg, eight underpasses were planned in 2007. After the project reached a virtual dead-end two years back as no suitable company could be found to construct the subways, the administration decided to revive it last year as it was seen as the only possible solution to tackle chaos on roads. Budget allocation of Rs 5 crore was made for underpasses in 2012-13 and Rs 75 crore will be spent on the project during the next five years. After conducting a detailed traffic survey in the city, Rail India Technical and Economic Services ( RITES), in its report submitted to UT, had underlined the need for underpasses. "Many junctions particularly on Madhya Marg, Himalaya Marg, Dakshin Marg, Jan Marg, Purv Marg, Udyogpath have very high approach traffic volumes and most of the junctions with rotaries have exceeded their capacity. The situation at these junctions is likely to deteriorate fast," it said.
More buses on local routes
It has been decided to increase the fleet of buses running on local routes in order to step up the frequency of buses for the city residents. The long route buses of Chandigarh Transport Undertaking ( CTU) have already been put on the local grid.