GS Road beautification exceeds deadline, 3 more months until completion
GUWAHATI: The Public Works Department (PWD) of Guwahati had undertaken beautification works on GS Road, the most prominent part of the city in November 2018. The plan was to complete the first phase, covering a length of 3.5 km, by March 31, 2019. However, the authorities have failed to do so and have now claimed that the work will be completed in the next three months.
In the first phase, the PWD is covering the stretch from Ulubari to Ganeshguri. The department is doing away with the existing road dividers and replacing them with better and wider ones. It is also removing the uneven footpaths and replacing them with colourful tiles with patterns. The estimated budget for this city beautification project is Rs 47 crores.
“Close to 80 percent of the work has been done and the PWD requires three more months to complete the construction of dividers and footpath on GS Road,” Bhupendra Chandra Sarma, Executive Engineer, PWD Guwahati City Division-1 told G Plus.
When questioned about the reason for delay in the completion of work, the PWD engineer failed to cite any specific reasons. While the first phase of the project is ongoing, the PWD minister Himanta Biswa Sarma has already given a go-ahead for the second phase of work, to cover the stretch from Ganeshguri to Khanapara.
Under the beautification project, 80 cm wide dividers are being constructed on the entire stretch of GS Road which is around 11 kms in length (excluding the flyovers). Additionally, saplings are being planted in the dividers to make it visually appealing and also purify the air. The maintenance work of the saplings has been issued to a contractor for the next three years. The estimated amount for the construction of the dividers is Rs 12 crores.
Although the initiative was first taken forward in GS Road area of the city, the PWD minister has given a green signal to the department to implement the project in other areas of the city as well after assessment of the results. The project is expected to be implemented on the stretch between Maligaon and Kamakhya. A proposal has also been sent for the same projects to be undertaken on the stretch between Chandmari and Guwahati Club.
“The existing dividers were very narrow and so they have been broken at multiple areas by commuters. We’re now making wider dividers with the aim to prevent such mischievous activities,” informed Dilip Hazarika, superintending engineer of PWD, City Circle.
He further informed that the dividers will have pedestrian crossovers 200-250 metres apart for the pedestrians to cross the road with ease.
Speaking to G Plus about the current state of the beautification project, Bhupendra Sarma said, “The beautification of footpaths that started about six months back is nearing completion on MG Road. Rs 3.80 crores of the total budget of Rs 9.24 crores is being spent on improving the footpaths by using ornamental MS grills including the improvement of drainage facilities in the area.”
He further added that the entire city of Guwahati will soon witness colourful footpaths with proper drainage facilities, footpath grills, implementation of carb stones and colorful Fiber Reinforced Polymer (FRP) tiles.
Additionally, two flyovers, namely Ulubari flyover and Bhangagarh flyover, will be seen having mastic asphalt (suitable for heavily trafficked roads) for smooth travelling of the commuters.
Slow paced beautification work increases commuters’ woes
With the temperature rising and the ongoing city beautification work, commuters in Guwahati are facing a harrowing time getting stuck in traffic jams, especially on GS Road and in Jalukbari and Sarabbhati areas of the city.
"It used to take me 15 minutes to travel from my home in Kalapahar to office in Ulubari. But since the last few days, I've been getting stuck in hour-long traffic jams," expressed Megha Pandey, a citizen of Guwahati.
In the same vein, another citizen said, "The traffic on GS Road is getting worse by the day. The authority should carry out the construction work during night hours instead of harassing the commuters daily."
The citizens have opined that construction work for beautification happening during the day causes a major problem for moving traffic in Guwahati and the department should shift the time from day to night. Further, the newly opened shopping centres and coaching institutes on GS Road also seem to be adding to the problem.
"We are trying our best to control the traffic in the city but we need cooperation from the public to deal with the problem," expressed Prashant Saikia, DCP Traffic.
He further added that if pedestrians become more careful in crossing the road, and vehicles (especially city buses) stop rash driving, these problems will become easier to solve.
The residents of Guwahati have been witnessing traffic snarls for more than a week now and the scorching heat is just making it worse to commute during the day.