Sultanpuri underpass, stuck for 13 years, opens for traffic
However, the project, expected to improve connectivity for people living in Sultanpuri, Rohini, Nangloi and Kirari, is still only half complete.
Over 13 years after work began on the twin junction of the Sultanpuri railway over-bridge (ROB) and railway under-bridge (RUB) in 2010 to improve connectivity in outer Delhi, the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) on Monday threw open the newly completed underpass to the public.
Presiding over the inaugural ceremony, Delhi mayor Shelly Oberoi said this Sultanpuri-Nangloi link was a much-awaited project of the civic body.
“As soon as the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) came to power in the municipal corporation, the work on Sultanpuri underpass, which was stuck for 13 years, was taken up. The pending work was completed within five months. The project was made a focus area and pending funds were released on priority. Now, the underpass is open to Delhi residents,” she told reporters.
However, the project, which is expected to improve connectivity for of people living in Sultanpuri, Rohini, Nangloi and Kirari is still only half complete. There is the still the railway over-bridge remaining to be built.
“We will meet all relevant stakeholders to resolve the issues in the way of completion of Sultanpuri over-bridge. I am hopeful to bring all stakeholders on a common ground within the next two months. The aim is to complete all the pending schemes of the corporation rapidly,” Oberoi said.
The North Delhi Municipal Corporation’s Rani Jhansi grade separator project is already synonymous with extraordinary delays and inability to meet deadlines, and the civic body’s railway crossing infrastructure projects are also headed down a similar route.
The Sultanpuri ROB/RUB project was sanctioned in 2008, and its construction started in 2010. But, by 2021, only about 70% work was complete owing to paucity of funds.
An MCD official, asking not to be named, said the project also faced several court cases over land acquisition and relocation.
“The last contractor abandoned the project midway in 2018 and more than 184.5 tonnes of steel bars at the site were sold for scrap at ₹22 per kilo to partially recover the losses,” the official said.
A senior Northern Railway official said the railway portion of Sultanpuri ROB and RUB was completed in 2013 while the approaches were to be constructed by MCD. “No work is pending from our side,” the official said, asking not to be named.
“To go from Nangloi to Sultanpuri, people were forced to go through Peeragarhi. But the underpass will save time as commuters can now go directly from Nangloi to Sultanpuri. This will also reduce traffic jams,” the municipal official quoted above said.
Shamsher Kaushik, a Sultanpuri resident, said the unmanned crossing has led to many accidents involving both humans and animals.
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“There are five schools on the Nangloi side of the RUB and even though the government guidelines say that people should not cross railway tracks,residents are forced to do so and risk their lives. The rail over-bridge is only 60% complete and the problems of residents will not be solved unless the whole project is ready,” he said.
Delhi BJP spokesperson Praveen Shankar Kapoor alleged that the AAP has taken the credit for the project. which he claimed was conceptualised and started by the BJP-ruled MCD administration. The work, however, got delayed due to non-release of funds by the Delhi government and some legal issues, he alleged.
“...it is shocking to see mayor Dr Shelly Oberoi trying to seek credit for it. The mayor should know the Contractor completed the work in March 2023 before her election,” he said.