Jaipur BRTS Update

Despite the buzz over the bus rapid transport system (BRTS) for the city, Jaipurites may have to wait for some time before the first phase (Package-1B) that runs from C-zone Bypass to Panipech is opened to the public.This Rs 54-crore, 7.1-km project was scheduled to become operational by July this year. The preliminary work is yet to be completed. Meanwhile, the work orders for the Package 2 has been awarded and the detailed project report (DPR) for the 3rd package have been sent to the state government. This would be sent to the Union government soon. Learning from Delhi BRTS experience, some changes in design and its execution has been made.“The speed at which we wanted to complete the work hit road block due to factors like lack of inter-agency coordination, financial crunch faced by the construction company, for we imposed some penalties on them for delaying the work, and also factors beyond our control like rain and agitations. But hopefully the buses can run on the dedicated corridor by November this year.” said A K Jain, engineer supervising BRTS work along Sikar road.Since Jaipur BRTS has learnt from Delhi’s experience, certain problems have been avoided. The engineers have ensured adequate width for bus shelters and bus stops and have kept the main carraigeway wide. There would be railings throughout the stretch of the corridor, except on the cross sections to avoid traffic jams on the dedicated corridor meant only for the buses.Sources have confirmed that the technical experts had asked for 15 months to complete the “civil works” or preliminary work. This would have ended in November. However, the state government, to make political capital out of the project, had insisted upon completing it by July. This, of course, was not done. “We attempted to complete the work according to the time given to us informally. But owing to factors beyond our control, such as the Gujjar agitation and Jaipur bomb blasts, the work was greatly delayed. From mid-April to mid-June bitumin-laying to carpet the road is done. But we could not do this because of the agitation and blasts. We also faced other hurdles such as water supply lines passing through the corridor and tubewells needed to be shifted from the corridor hinterland. The overhead electric lines also posed some problems,” said N C Mathur, project-in-charge, BRTS. Now the revised deadline have been set as October 15 this year. The government and the JDA hopes to operationalise the corridor before this. At least, they hope, the dedicated bus lane would be completed by this time. This seems to be an impossibility. This 7.1-km stretch will have 24 bus shelters. The experts feel that making the cycle track (1.5 to 2.5 m), track for the other motorised vehicles, footpath, landscaping and the provision for service roads is is not be possible within the time. It will take another five months to complete all this and the bus lane to be operational, says the project engineers on the site.The biggest hurdle have been the procurement of modern AC and non AC buses for BRTS. The buses need to be IT-enabled and low-floor.“We have received only a single final bidder to run the buses. Orix Limited , a Mumbai-based radio taxi operator has quoted very high rates for the purpose and the JCTSL board will take a final call on that. Jaipur city transport services limited(JCTSL) will have to look into the operational sustainability and revenue-sharing formulae. Only if this is finalised then the launch would be possible this year,” said Mahendra Soni, member JCTSL.
Work orders for the entire Package-2 have been awarded. This Rs 145 crore-package has two parts. Part A—this 8.5 km stretch will run from Panipech to Laxmi Nagar via Sahkar Marg and Part B—having 10.5 km corridor will run through Jyotiba Phule Circle to the airport via Tonk Road, Rambagh Circle and Ambedkar Circle. This stretch will have a 1 km elevated road at Durgapura. The deadline has been set as November 2009.This stretch has many hurdles as the three statues of Jyotiba Phule, Maharshi Parashar and S C Aggrawal fall on this route and they need to be shifted. Removing these statues is difficult for political reasons. Diversion of traffic and construction would be difficult on this route. The detailed project report for the stretch from Mansarovar to Government Hostel as part of the East-West corridor has been sent to the state government in July which will eventually be sent to the Centre.

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