R&B finalises tender of longest bridge over Chenab, work to start next month

Gopal Sharma
JAMMU, July 21: The State R&B authorities have cleared the tender for construction of longest ever bridge in J&K over river Chenab in Akhnoor sector,  while the work on the project is expected to start next month.
Official sources told the Excelsior that total six national level construction companies having expertise in the field of construction of bridges participated  in the tender process.  During scrutiny at the level of technical bid, two companies could not qualify and finally four   companies remained in the  final contest for the financial bid.
Sources disclosed that a joint venture of M/s VKG Constructions from Chandigarh  and M/s MVZ Constructions from Punjab, have secured the tender having lowest rates quoted in the bid. The process of allotment of work has almost been completed by the State Level  Contract Committee under Commissioner/ Secretary, R&B. The work is likely to start on this prestigious bridge next month.
Chief Engineer R&B Jammu, Sudhir Shah, who is closely associated with this project,  after it was handed over to the R&B by the JKPCC last year,  said that out of the four companies who contested in the financial bid, a joint venture of M/s VKG Construction, a Chandigarh  based company has bagged the  tender.  He said all the required formalities are being completed by the contract committee and work allotment letter would be issued within a couple of days.
Shah claimed that contract work worth Rs 177 crore has been finalized and two years deadline has been given to the company to complete this work on 1680 mt long double lane bridge connecting  Pargwal area directly with the Khour Sub Divisional headquarters,
As reported by the Excelsior earlier, the work on this vital bridge from Defence point of view over river Chenab in Khour-Pargwal area of Akhnoor, said to be the longest bridge  in  Northern India, remained in crisis for several years. Its location was changed twice due to objections by the defence authorities being closer to the Line of Control   and also sabotaged by some people when it was under JKPCC. The agency failed to finalise tenders even for about two years and the Government lastly cancelled the tender and then handed over the assignment again to the State R&B authorities during October last year.
Sources in the R&B revealed that some ‘vested interests’,  sabotaged this  Jammu centric project as the Technical Committee of the JKPCC headed by  the then Managing Director, involved in the tender process since July 25, 2016, cancelled the tender even after granting four extensions  of 180 days, exposing the incompetence, incapability  and mala-fide intensions of the people at the helm of affairs.  This important road bridge which is very vital from Defence point of view  in Akhnoor sector, close to the Indo-Pak border,  faced rough weather due to weak political leadership of Jammu and  least interest shown by the Jammu based Ministers during last several years.  After the passage of over three and half years of its sanction, this bridge project  is now heading to  take off most likely in first or second week of  August.
Actually,  this prestigious Jammu centric project  was facing rough weather  from very beginning at the hands of the people at the helm of affairs, despite the fact that entire funding  worth Rs 206.90 crore is being made by the Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways under CRF.  For sabotaging this project, some people moved to the court  on the advice of some ‘insiders’ but the court dismissed their plea ( on 23-3-2017).
This 1680 mt  span bridge over Chenab, directly connecting   Pargwal area, which is surrounded by Pakistan from three sides  and  from other side  locked by the mighty Chenab river,  with a narrow  road  acting as life line along an old canal popularly known as Suyya No. 1 with Khour, will provide a big relief to the big population of this border belt after commissioning.
During Pakistani shelling/ firing, only one single road connecting Pargwal with Jammu-Akhnoor highway at Suyya No. I,  serves  as life line for the people. But some times this  population  of  over 25,000 souls remains cut off  during heavy shelling from Pakistani side as this only road is closer to border at several points and this bridge would provide  them a vital outlet at the time of crisis. This again happened hardly a month ago and entire population remained trapped in their houses for over 10-12 hours amidst Pak shelling. This bridge would provide them a great relief and also reduce the distance between Pargwal and Khour Tehsil/ Sub- Divisional headquarters from 55 kms to hardly 15 kms.