arunima ghosh 
KOLKATA, 15 JUNE: The state urban development department has sought clearance from the finance department for paying an additional Rs 285 crore to the construction company of Park Circus-Parama Island flyover ~ India’s second longest flyover. 
This even though the committee set up to inquire into the justification behind sanctioning the additional funds has estimated the additional cost to be around Rs 84 crore less and proposed appointing a consultant to finalise the design of the flyover first. 
The five-member committee that submitted its report to the urban development department on 4 June has observed that the design of a portion of the flyover is yet to be approved by the Kolkata Metropolitan Development Authority (KMDA), which is acting as the nodal agency. The committee has proposed appointing a consultant to finalise the design following which the issue of sanctioning additional funds can be taken up. 
Although it has maintained that the additional funds can be sanctioned only after finalising the entire design plan, it has made a rough estimation of Rs 201 crore as additional cost for constructing the flyover. 
The urban development department, however, is yet to approve the committee’s report. The department has instead approached the finance department for sanctioning Rs 285 crore.  
The erstwhile government engaged Hindustan Construction Company for construction of the flyover in 2010 at a cost of Rs 330 crore. The flyover was supposed to be completed within 30 months but work was delayed as a result of which the deadline was extended till 31 August 2013.
The original design of the flyover had to be changed after it was revealed that an underground sewerage line lay beneath the proposed flyover and it was not possible to shift it. Apart from the change in the original plan, work is being further delayed because construction work is undertaken only during the night. Thus, the construction company demanded an additional sum of Rs 285 crore from the KMDA. However, controversy over sanctioning the additional amount rose after KMDA gave its approval without floating a fresh tender, which is mandatory whenever there is a 70 per cent hike than the original estimation. According to KMDA, the move was made simply to expedite work.
So, the state government set up a committee to inquire into the justification behind such a steep hike. But, KMDA approached the finance department for sanctioning the additional amount.