Delhi PWD Issues Notice To L&T Over “Design Flaws” In Pragati Maidan Tunnel

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The tunnel has witnessed multiple closures due to waterlogging during the Delhi floods.

The Delhi government’s PWD has issued a notice to Larsen and Toubro over alleged “glaring infirmities” in the Pragati Maidan tunnel project while demanding a “token amount” of Rs 500 crore from the firm and directing it to immediately initiate repair work.

Larsen and Toubro said that they have made a counterclaim of Rs 500 crore against the Public Works Department (PWD).

The notice was issued on February 3, asking the company to respond within 15 days.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had on June 19, 2022 inaugurated the 1.3-km-long tunnel and five underpasses as part of the Pragati Maidan Integrated Transit Corridor Project that aims to ease connectivity between central Delhi with the eastern parts of the city and the satellite towns of Noida and Ghaziabad.

The tunnel has witnessed multiple closures due to waterlogging during the Delhi floods last year.

The notice alleged that the project with time revealed “glaring infirmities that were not only technical in nature but were also design flaws”.

“The most glaring as well as alarming issue was the accumulation of water across various locations in the tunnel/underpass.

“This issue, especially during the monsoon season, rendered the entire project non-operational for the general public and ultimately ended up causing far more blockages and congestion along the arterial roads of the entire New Delhi area which defeated the very purpose of this ambitious project,” the notice stated.

The notice also underlined the fact that the entire design and execution of the project was under the control of L&T and no government agency had any role in it.

The PWD in the notice said the company’s “failure to act on the issues being faced by the general public and the resultant public safety hazard, is not only a dereliction of your duty/obligations towards the general public but also contravenes the terms of the agreement.

“Given the documentary records and urgency involved in the redressal process, you are put on notice to respond as to why action should not be instituted against your company within 15 days from the date of receipt of this notice.” In the interim, it directed the company to immediately deposit a “minimum token amount of Rs 500 crore” and initiate repair and rectification work on the locations already identified in the project site.

The PWD in the notice also stated that despite detailed communications and requests from the government agencies, including but not limited to the PWD, seeking urgent and immediate redressal of the issues being faced by the engineers as well as the general public, all the issues have now remained unaddressed for over two months.

“While the contractual terms are clear on the aspect of the maintenance of the project, what has come to light is the fact that the technical and final project design is at variance from the schematics of the intended construction expressly agreed by your company,” it said.

The “notable variation” in the actual construction is likely to cause an “irreparable and unprecedented impact” on the underpasses and tunnels which are intended to be utilised by the public for years, the notice stated.

An L&T spokesperson said his company has filed a counter-claim of Rs 500 crore.

“PWD, Delhi, is an esteemed client and we value the long years of association we have enjoyed with them. However, L&T would like to state that a counter-claim of Rs 500 crore has been made by the company against PWD, Delhi,” the spokesperson said.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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