Puri, who inaugurated the skywalk and a foot over bridge at ITO, alleged that a “false narrative” was being created around these projects and some people who have nothing to do with the project were trying to take credit.
The Union housing and urban affairs minister claimed that when the Delhi government, which was supposed to provide 20 per cent of the project cost, did not give its clearance, his ministry decided to execute it on its own.
The ITO Crossing and ‘W’ Point Junction are the two busiest crossings in the city as far as the pedestrian traffic is concerned.
There are over 25 major offices and other institutions located in this area. Approximately, 30,000 pedestrians cross various roads around ITO Crossing and ‘W’ Point. The skywalk, which has been constructed with a cost of Rs 55 crore, has six lifts.
“When I became the minister in September 2017, I was told that the skywalk project, which was cleared in 2016, was still awaiting the Delhi government’s nod.
“We then decided to execute this project on our own,” Puri told a gathering here.
The skywalk project has become a bone of contention between the AAP dispensation and the BJP-led central government.
Last week, Delhi PWD minister Satyendar Jain said that no Aam Aadmi Party minister was invited for the inauguration of the project.
According to the Union HUA ministry, the project has been executed with the funds provided by the Centre. The PWD of the Delhi government was an executing agency.
“We are seeing a similar pattern in every urban project (in Delhi). Projects like DelhiMeerut RRTS (Regional Rapid Transit System) and Metro Phase-IV have been stuck (due to non-clearance from the AAP government)…
“We took this project in our hand and completed within a year,” the Union minister said.
On its part, the Delhi government on Monday issued a statement saying, “No amount of tall claims and rhetoric will be able to mislead the people of Delhi, who will finally judge, whether cutting ribbons will be a substitute for hard work.”
It said that bureaucratic queries were raised about the necessity of the project and a former Delhi PWD secretary, now posted outside the city, raised questions about the need for such a project.
“His objections were, however, overruled by Deputy Chief Minister and Finance Minister Manish Sisodia who headed the Expenditure Finance Committee (EFC), which gave its approval for providing the Delhi government share of Rs 12 crore for the skywalk project,” the statement said.