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Delhi street-scaping limps as Games deadline nears

New Delhi, May 22 (IANS) Delhi is decking up for the Commonwealth Games, but most street-scaping projects are far from complete and time is fast running out for the Public Works Department (PWD) as it struggles to meet deadlines.

Most major roads in central and southern areas of the city or linked to stadia and other Games infrastructure are either dug up or half done or simply littered with construction rubble and half-done masonry.

In south Delhi, street-scaping on the 2.20-km stretch on Africa Avenue road is 65 percent complete, while only five percent of the 1.2-km Siri Fort section, again in the south, has seen progress, according to a PWD report.

The deadline for both has been fixed as June 30, with work starting in October last year.

Street-scaping is one among several things the PWD is doing to beautify the city roads ahead of the mega-sporting event Oct 3-14 that is expected to attract thousands of foreign tourists, besides 8,000 athletes and delegates.

The other works include verges and horticulture development, street lighting and beautification of flyovers besides putting up road signages.

Footpaths alongside the venues of the Commonwealth Games are being beautified. Also, footpaths and cycle tracks are being constructed and saplings being planted near the Games venues.

Nearly 25 percent of the work has been completed on a 2.9-km-long August Kranti Marg and 55 percent of the 5.8- km stretch on Ring Road from Ashram to Bharon Marg still remains, the report says.

Similarly, it says street-scaping work on the 8.3-km-long National Highway 24, M.B. Road and Vikas Marg around Games village has seen a completion of only 58 percent.

‘We are continuing with the work and hoping to complete it by the end of June-July. There is no problem with finances and also constant monitoring is being done to accelerate the pace of work,’ PWD Minister Raj Kumar Chouhan told IANS.

However, PWD work on street-scraping has hit a few roadblocks.

‘At the IGI stadium, for widening of level crossing near I.P. Depot, the railways is demanding about Rs.57.45 crore, which is not justified at all. At the Karni Singh shooting range, private land is to be acquired by the land and building department in Lal Kuan village,’ Chouhan said.

The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) will also have to shift the carriageway connecting Tughlakabad Fort and Gayasuddin Tomb.

At the Games village near Akhsardham Temple in east Delhi, a bus stop has to be relocated, while local opposition to reduction in the width of service roads and removal of ramps for houses is being sorted out.

The PWD minister said road signages covering 410 km of the city roads at a cost of Rs.71.50 crore will be completed by July-end.

He also said the focus is on completing flyovers, underpasses and bridges within the deadline of July, mainly on roads that will facilitate movement of players and visitors in October.

With several of the PWD projects running late, Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit held a meeting in the capital Tuesday asking its officials to complete the work on time. She had also asked the department to expedite street-scaping and road signages projects to ensure an international look for the city ahead of the event.

The Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) is also tasked with street-scaping work around Games sites.

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