The Pragati Maidan tunnel in Delhi is beyond repair and needs a major overhaul, The Hindu has quoted a senior Delhi government official as saying.
The Delhi government’s Public Works Department (PWD) has issued a notice to Larsen and Toubro over alleged “obvious diseases” in the Rs 777-crore tunnel. The PWD also demanded a “token amount” of Rs 500 crore from L&T, prompting a counter-demand of a similar amount from the construction company. The government department has also ordered the company to immediately begin repair work.
But a delay in its completion and negligence in maintenance have led to cracks in the tunnel, the PWD official said. The structure is no longer safe for travelers and cannot be repaired without a complete renovation, he said.
The tunnel and five underpasses form the Pragati Maidan Integrated Transit Corridor Project that aims to facilitate connectivity between central Delhi with the eastern parts of the city and the nearby cities of Noida and Ghaziabad.
The 1.3 kilometer tunnel, opening in 2022, faced multiple closures during last year’s floods.
Pointing out this, another official said all underground tunnels develop leaks and blamed L&T, the company in charge of their maintenance, for not carrying out repair work despite being asked to do so several times in the last two months.
PWD’s notice to L&T alleged that the project has “glaring weaknesses” that were both technical and design in nature. “The most obvious and alarming problem was the accumulation of water in various places in the tunnel/underpass,” he noted.
“This issue, especially during the monsoon season, made the entire project non-operational for the general public and ultimately ended up causing many more blockages and congestion along arterial roads throughout the New York area. Delhi, thereby defeating the very purpose of this ambitious project,” the notice said.
In its show cause notice, the PWD asked L&T to deposit a “minimum token amount” of Rs 500 crore and begin repair work immediately.
An L&T spokesperson referred to the Delhi-based disabled person as a “esteemed customer” and said the company had filed a counterclaim of Rs 500 million.