Construction by a once bankrupt company What we know about Kolkatas Girish Park flyover
news Thursday, March 31, 2016 - 18:05

In November 2015, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee announced that the Vivekananda Road flyover, which collapsed on Thursday, would be inaugurated in February 2016. That never happened and this was not the first time that the flyover inauguration missed a deadline. It took five years to complete 76 percent of the 2.2 km flyover.

On Thursday morning, the flyover in the Girish Park area of north Kolkata collapsed, killing several people. The total number of deaths and injured people is still unclear.

Here’s what we know about the flyover and the construction company IVRCL:

The Kolkata Metropolitan Development Authority (KMDA) awarded the contract of constructing the flyover to IVRCL on February 24, 2009 with a budget of Rs 164 crore under the JNNURM scheme.

In August 2009, the Andhra Pradesh government was considering blacklisting the Hyderabad-based company on the recommendation of the state labour department. In February 2011, the Uttar Pradesh Jal Nigam did blacklist the company along with another company named SPML for using sub-standard material in drinking water and sewerage projects.

The 2.2 km flyover, connecting Girish Park to Howrah Bridge, was to be open to public by August 2011, 18 months after the award of the contract.

November 2015 was the ninth deadline that IVRCL missed.

The company ran into several land acquisition problems – legal battles over land, initiated by people whose houses were often very close to the flyover. There were also 22 underground utilities in 35 places on the planned stretch of road.

Construction would start only at 11 pm and end by 5 am. The company often complained that the police would not allow them to work outside of this time, on account of heavy traffic in the area.

In April 2014, IVRCL sought a bail out from the government. They called it “compensation” of Rs 72 crore from the government, because the contract did allow for cost overruns.

For six months until December 2014, IVRCL simply did not work. It was taking a bankruptcy break. After a complete debt restructuring, it restarted construction.

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