JAMMU, Dec 21: Even after more than three months of opening of single tube of 4th bridge over river Tawi connecting Ware House, Chattha and Satwari Canton-ment area with the Jammu-Akhnoor-Rajouri Road and the completion of concrete protection wall/embankments upstream the bridge on Ware House side, the JKPCC authorities have failed to complete the protection work of this vital bridge.
Highly placed sources in R&B told the Excelsior that the task for which 45 days were given to the JKPCC in May this year to complete the protection work on Rs 17 crore project could not be completed even after six months. Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti along with DyCM Dr Nirmal Singh had also taken review of the work few days before the opening of its one tube on September 10 this year, but even after that no serious progress on the work could be witnessed.
Even the Managing Director of the JKPCC, Dalip Thussu had declared that the work was expected to be completed in one and half months but agency could not meet the deadline. Though due to floods, the work was delayed and also suffered some damages at the site but even then six months time was more than sufficient to complete this task.
Today, when the Excelsior team visited the site, only a JCB and hardly half a dozen workers were seen at the site during the mid day, while the officers concerned claimed that work at the site has been expedited. Till now, after September 10, only concrete base could be raised while the protection wall work at the down stream on Nikki Tawi side has yet to begin.
Neither the State R&B authorities nor the District or the Divisional Administration Jammu is bothered about the matter while the general public is facing hardships due to regular traffic jams there. Moreover, the Kucha portion of the approach road connecting bridge has not been made concrete. Some officials at the site indicated that it may take at least two to three and half months to complete this work. They told that the work on this side was started in real sense hardly 8-10 days earlier. They said that slow flow of funds is the main reason behind the slow progress.
It may be recalled that the untimely closure of this 4th Tawi bridge from Ware House side to Bhagwati Nagar, providing vital link to Akhnoor Road and Poonch -Rojouri districts, caused much inconvenience to the general public while some major floods in the river during this rainy season hampered the protection work at the bridge causing additional damage to the structure.
Surprisingly, the work on Rs 17 crore project, consisting of raising concrete embankments/ protection walls along the approach road of this Tawi bridge was started during the last week of June by the JKPCC, despite knowing that Monsoon season was just ahead. Not only this, the decision of the Administration and the JKPCC / R&B authorities to close this bridge for protection works during Shri Amarnath Yatra and Shri Budha Amarnath ji pilgrimage at Mandi in Poonch, was highly unjustified.
On September 7 this year, when Tawi crossed danger mark, the flood washed away the filled material from the river bed at the first pillar of the bridge and created large gap there. The filled `Mulba’ by the tippers and other machines, gone down the drain, causing huge loss to the Government exchequer. The foundation of the very first pillar of the bridge got exposed as the concrete protection wall raised was not so high and the flood water crossed over it and washed away the filled up area widening the distance between the bridge and the approach road.
Managing Director of the JKPCC (J&K), Dalip Thussu when contacted said that 100 % work on the protection wall upstream has been completed. He said downstream protection wall work has also been started now. The concrete base of the structure has been laid and the men are on the job. He claimed that work is expected to be completed by all means within one month.
Responding to another question, the MD said the work on the project had commenced in June and it was expected to be completed within 45 days, well before the Monsoon season but as the Monsoon was advance this year, the problems erupted.
Another senior officer (GM) of the JKPCC, N D Khawaja said that work on the downstream was started hardly a week back after digging work was over. The concrete base down the river bed has been laid and the protection wall work would start shortly. He said it may take at least two months to complete the task. Only after raising downstream protection wall, filling work could be started. The second tube of the bridge can be opened only after that. He said that about fifty percent of the project cost has been consumed till now.
Executive Engineer (DGM), JKPCC Unit IV, Pawan Gupta said that out of Rs 17 crore, only Rs 8 crore have been provided for the work. He said slow release of funds is also one of the reasons behind the delay. But the main reason was damage caused to the structure/ works done due to 2-3 major floods in river Tawi.
He further added that after September 2014 floods, the river shifted its course towards Nikki Tawi and over 70 % of the flood water now flows towards that side. The protection works were damaged during that time and a portion of approach road was also washed away.