With construction of a railway underpass in Karol Bagh area here pending completion since its approval in 2010, the Delhi High Court today asked the Centre to hold a meeting of all stakeholders and give a time line within which the work would be finished.
A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar issued the direction to the Secretary of the Ministry of Urban Development after the North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) informed the court that cost of the project has to be shared by the Centre also.
The court also issued notice to the ministry, Delhi government, NDMC, Delhi Development Authority and the Northern Railways
The project in question pertains to the construction of a Road Under Bridge, also known as a railway underpass, connecting Rama Road and Prem Nagar in Karol Bagh Zone and its foundation stone was laid in 2014, the court was told in a PIL which seeks a direction to the authorities to complete the work.
According to the petition, cost of the project was Rs 128 crore with an additional Rs 58 crore required for acquiring land for the work and the central government is expected to bear 80 per cent of the project cost and the rest is allocated by the agency involved, in this case NDMC.
The plea, by two residents of the area, has claimed that there is currently only a single road via a railway crossing for the residents of Prem Nagar to reach Rama Road and Najafgarh road.
The connecting road via the crossing opens only five to six times a day and the people are “forced to go straight through the railway track even when such crossing is not open, leading to the loss of many lives”, the petitioners, Shravan Kumar Chaubey and Dilip Kumar Gupta, have said.
The petition, filed through advocate Prashant Bhushan, has claimed that according to information received under the RTI Act, 514 accidents have taken place in which 436 people have lost their lives and 78 have been seriously injured between 2010-17 due to the lack of an underpass there.
“Despite sending reminders and representations to the authorities of various concerned departments the authorities have acted arbitrarily and have failed to start the construction of underpass knowing the fact that people are losing their lives due to lack of an underpass,” the petition has said.
The plea has also contended that the NDMC did not take up the project as it had no money to spare and “passed the onus to the urban development department of the Delhi government”.
It has sought directions to the Centre to release the funds required for the project and to finish it within a stipulated period of time.