It is a project that Delhi government calls a “white elephant“ yet finds impossible to cancel. So Yamuna Signature Bridge, conceptualised in 2004 to link north and east Delhi with Ghaziabad, has been given yet another deadline to become operational.According to government officials, work on the bridge has reached such a point that it makes no financial sense to abort its completion. That is why , despite the budget having doubled to Rs 1,594 crore from the original Rs 887 crore when planned as a showpiece for the 2010 Commonwealth Games, the government will work to have the bridge opened by this year-end.“There was a problem with pillar number 23 due to some issues with its foundation,“ Delhi tourism minister Kapil Mishra said, “but that has been sorted out.“ The consignments of bridge material due from China have reached India, the last one arriving in mid-February at the Kandla port after a delay of over a year. It will take around a month for it to reach Delhi.Chief project officer Shishir Bansal said that of the 33 steel pylon segments that make up the bridge, 10 have already been erected.“It takes 15 days for each pylon to be put into place, but that is if there are no errors,“ Bansal explained. “The work requires massive precision and we could end up spending weeks to rectify any error.“The one issue that is yet to be resolved is that of Gammon India, the construction company . “It is in a very poor financial state, and we are in talks with it and with banks to see if the funds can be routed to the project directly ,“ said Mishra. Gammon is undergoing a corporate debt restructuring exercise.
Delhi Tourism and Transport Development Corpora tion, which is implementing the project, initially claimed that the delay was due to forest clearance being held up and then on the financial problems of Gammon.
However, sources disclosed that the bigger hurdle was the Chinese firm from which materials were being sourced. “The structural consultant, SBP of Germany , had resisted the move to appoint the Chinese firm selected by Gammon since it lacked the necessary experience,“ revealed a source.
“Due to bureaucratic delays, work on the bridge was awarded only in March 2010 and was to have been complet ed by December 2013. To meet this deadline, the fabricated material should have reached Delhi by April 2013.“ Of course, it didn’t, and the 2004 project awaits completion.