New Delhi: The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has pulled up the Railway Board for starting the construction of new Yamuna Bridge without prior permission from the Centre that resulted into waste of time and money.

The Railway Board drew flak in the CAG report after it started construction of the new bridge which was expected to replace the existing Yamuna Bridge. In order to connect new bridge with the existing railway line towards New Delhi Railway Station, 1000 square metre of land had to be acquired in Salimgarh Durg area near Red Fort.

Since the Salimgarh Durg is a heritage site, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) did not grant permission for any construction in the vicinity. CAG stated that as per the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act 1959, permission from the Centre has to be taken before starting any construction on such sites.

However, the Railway Board flouted the norm and approved the construction of new Yamuna Bridge and issued tender bids for the same in 1998. However, the bridge which was supposed to be completed by June 2005, is yet far from completion.

After issuing all tender bids, the Northern Railway Construction Organisation contacted the ASI in 1997 and in 2003. However, the ASI Director ruled out any possibility of giving the land for the project.

After the matter was raised before the concerned Ministers for discussions, the Railway Board and ASI reached an agreement that the former will provide another piece of land near Salimgarh Durg.

But, the ASI again rejected the demand for land as it learnt that a part of the Salimgarh Durg wall had to be demolished for the project.

Meanwhile, the Railway Board had given contract worth Rs 33.36 crore to L&T for building a sub-structure and Railway Workshop Manmad was awarded contract worth Rs 24.09 crore to create a steel girder.

JPN/Bureau