Before AAP, the Public Works Department (PWD) was considered one of the most corrupt departments. But when AAP came to power, it aimed at finishing all the stuck projects initiated by the previous government. Among them were three flyovers in various stages of completion.

Azadpuri – Prembari Pul Flyover

Delhi AAP government’s first successful completion of a flyover was the single pillar six lane flyover which was estimated at Rs 247 crores but was finished in Rs 147 crores. This Azadpur to Prembari corridor was completed in November 2015. The 2 km elevated road, passed in 2012, and inaugurated in 2013, was finally opened in 2015. Even the then central union minister, Venkaiah Naidu, was prompted to say that for the first time, he had heard of something like this, that a project cost was finished at a much lower cost than estimated.

Mangalpuri – Madhuban Chowk Flyover

They quickly followed it up with the inauguration of the 1.6 km Mangalpuri-Madhuban Chowk flyover in January 2016, estimated at a cost of Rs 425 crores. This much needed flyover on the outer ring road was built a year ahead of schedule and Rs 100 crores lesser than the estimated cost.

Mukarka – Madhuban Chowk Flyover

They inaugurated a third flyover a week later, from Mukarka to Madhuban Chowk, saving another Rs 125 crores. This 3.8-km-long stretch was built in 30 months at a cost of Rs. 300 crores against the sanctioned Rs. 425 crores.

Vikaspuri – Mira Baug Corridor

The Vikaspuri to Mira Baug corridor too was completed by the AAP government, in July 2016, which was started in 2013. The estimated cost of the project was Rs 560 crores, but was completed by the AAP government in Rs 450 crores. Never before this, had any government finished a project in estimated costs, leave alone save on it.

Savings in infrastructure projects by Delhi AAP government

With the Rs 435 crores saved, they used it to make free medicines and free medical tests available in their government hospitals.

Mayur Vihar Flyover

The AAP government also inaugurated the Mayur Vihar flyover in January 2019, which started in April 2015 and was to be finished in two years and work on the third phase soon after. However, because the centre’s interference, there was a two year delay and it was finally inaugurated in January 2019.

Around the same time in February 2016, Narendra Modi had inaugurated a raid road flyover in Hajipur in Bihar, which was estimated at a cost of Rs 600 crores, but was finished in Rs 3000 crores.

Barapullah Six Lane Flyover

The Delhi government also completed the much delayed Barapullah  six lane flyover, phase 2, connecting East Delhi with South, in July 2018, after a delay of over three years. It was started in 2013 by the Sheila Dikshit government and was to be completed in 2015. The AAP government was able to finish the flyover in the same cost of Rs 530 crore, despite a five year delay.

Jagatput Flyover

They quickly followed this with the Jagatpur flyover bridge in September 2018, from Vikaspuri to Vazirabad, cutting travel time from an hour and a half to just 30 minutes. The project started in 2014 was completed at a budget of Rs 74 crores.

Rani Jhansi Flyover

Compare this 1.6 km Rani Jhansi flyover which was conceived in 1998 by the BJP ruled MCD, work started in 2007, and costs escalated from Rs 70 crores to Rs 724 crores and finally inaugurated in October 2018, after the centre intervened to complete it at an additional cost of Rs 85 crores. AAP demanded a CBI inquiry into cost escalations, including a mysterious Rs 110 crore payment, made to one Abhishek, in exchange for land. But nothing of the sort happened

Signature Bridge

In addition to all this, Delhi AAP government also constructed the 154 metres high and 670 metres long, picturesque Signature bridge, built at a total cost of Rs 1575 crores in Delhi . It is the first monument of its kind in India, built totally indigenously in India, since Independence. That it is the largest bridge in Asia, and only the second one of its kind in the world? The first is in Holland. That despite all the delays by the centre, AAP party started and finished the bridge in just three and half years, a project which was hanging fire for almost 20 years.

AAP kept working persistently, to finish constructing the bridge as quickly as possible, but both congress and BJP which did everything possible to stop the project, rushed to take credit for the bridge. The magnificent structure, the only one of its kind in Asia, and only the second in the world, the first being in Holland, was finally inaugurated on November 4, 2018. Just four days after the much touted Sardar Vallabh bhai statue in Gujarat, which is 182 metres, but built at a cost of approximately Rs 3000 crores which is almost double that of the Signature Bridge. The statue however just has an ornamental value, while the bridge will ease the travel time of lakhs of passengers, using the bridge, every month.

The asymmetrical, cabled bridge is the highest structure in the country at 154 metres and 670 metres long, which offers a 360 degrees aerial view of Delhi. It has been built by Gammon India, in consultation with experts in Japan, France and Italy. The only monument of this kind to be built in India, indigenously since Independence, at a cost of Rs 1575 crores.

The bridge was first conceived by the then chief minister Saheb Singh Verma, of the BJP, when a bus carrying school children toppled over from an old bridge on Yamuna river. The project cost for an ordinary bridge then was Rs 459 crores. 

Delays by missing deadlines, escalated the cost to Rs 827 crores, when the Sheila Dikshit government decided to build it in 2004. Nothing again moved till 2008, when it was decided to make it a significant structure instead. Hardly any progress was made until 2010, except getting clearances from the forest department, and the cost jumped to Rs 1131 crore.

Timeline of Signature Bridge

Work on the bridge finally started in 2010 and as soon as they started construction, the engineers informed that there was a layer of unsteady rock below the surface, which would make it difficult to put a steady structure there. To get past this obstacle they needed another Rs 300 crores.

The project since then moved only on paper. The first pylon for the bridge, was erected by the AAP government in March 2015, only a month after they came to power.

For a year and a half, the Narendra Modi government kept throwing in the obstacles, refusing to pass the budget, give clearances etc. while officers told the minsters that they have been threatened with CBI inquiries, if they worked on the bridge. The prime minister also insisted that everything be done to stop the bridge from being inaugurated during AAP’s tenure.

After persistent efforts on a daily basis, the bridge was finally inaugurated on November 4, 2018, more than 20 years after it was first envisaged, at much untold hardships to the people concerned.

Improving Face of Delhi PWD

Since these accomplishments, the PWD of Delhi, has become the cynosure of the eyes of many state governments, who are left with wonderment how the Delhi PWD is able to accomplish it all, while the PWD’s around the country continue to be incompetent and corrupt.

Besides building these flyovers, the PWD also plans to not only beautify the flyovers with plants, it also plans to erect solar panels everywhere, to generate clean and green energy. It has already started around roads at the Jagatpur flyover where solar panels to generate 5000KW, have been set up. The electricity generated from these panels can light up 2500 houses.

Against the Practice of Escalating Costs

The state PWD minister, Satyendra Jain is against the practice of escalation costs built-in in the contract, and then stretching the project indefinitely.

We would rather build two flyovers, instead of just one, at the same cost, by finishing the project before time and saving money, rather than paying escalation costs.

Satyendra Jain, PWD Minister, Delhi Government

The AAP government too inaugurated two flyovers, Shastri park and Seelampur flyover, in February 2019 and intend finishing it before their term is over, next year.

Vijaya is an Independent journalist and writes on current politics, sports and spirituality. She started her career as a print journalist, specializing in investigative reporting, having contributed to several publications including The Pioneer, The Week, Indian Express, Free Press group, Midday, Afternoon, Daily and Life Positive. (Know more about author)