Simplex Infrastructure, the company constructing the Rambagh- Jehangir Chowk flyover, says that if they were responsible for stopping the work on the flyover unilaterally, why was the Economic Reconstruction Agency (ERA) not taking legal action against them?
When asked if the ERA was shifting the blame onto the company for stopping the work because of in-house problems, CP Gupta, the CEO of Simplex Infrastructure, told The Kashmir Press that if that were the case, then the executing agency (ERA) should take legal action against the company.
“If we have violated the contract by stopping work, why are they not taking any legal action against us?” he asked.
Gupta also denied that the company had reached any deal with the ERA to restart the work.
Meanwhile, the ERA insisted that Simplex Infrastructure had stopped work on the project because of the company’s internal conflicts.
“Their employees have left the company because they have not made payments to them,” said ERA’s public relations officer ERA M Azhar.
On being asked why the ERA was not taking legal action against the company if they had breached the contract by stopping work, the PRO said that it was not in the interest of the flyover construction and would further delay the process.
“Legal action takes a long time, and we don’t want another delay,” he said.
The PRO also disclosed that the ERA had paid 15 crore rupees of the pending 20 crore rupees to Simplex Infrastructure.
“We have paid almost the whole amount the company had claimed as damages to their equipment during the 2014 floods; however, not all claims made by the company are admissible,” he said
He said that negotiations with Simplex Infrastructure were on, and that a solution to the issue would be found soon.
However, he failed to answer the question as to why the ERA had to negotiate with Simplex Infrastructure at all if the company was having in- house problems. Why was the ERA even concerned?
The company has earlier claimed that the ERA owed them 20 crore rupees, and that because of non-payment of the money owed to them, they were not able to pay their employees.
When stopping work on the flyover, the company had cited lack of proper work ethic and work culture as reasons for stopping work on the project
On May 11, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti inaugurated the first phase of the Jehangir Chowk-Rambagh Expressway Corridor from the Amar Singh College area to the Barzulla Bridge.
The project was estimated to cost Rs 350 crore by the ERA. The Asian Development Bank-funded project is expected to decongest the traffic on the road between Barzulla and Srinagar Airport, reducing travel time significantly.
ERA officials claim that the entire four-lane flyover, spanning about one-and-a-half km, would be made functional by year-end.
Work on the first phase of the flyover project began in July 2009 and was scheduled to be completed within three years. Work on the other phases of the project was started in September of 2013.
However, the first phase alone took five years to be completed.
Several reasons were put forward for the extension of deadlines. Among them were the 2014 floods and the 2016 pro-freedom uprising.