Restoration work on 4th Tawi bridge moves at snail’s pace, JKPCC may take 2 more months

Approach road to 4th Tawi bridge yet to be reconstructed by JKPCC. —Excelsior/Rakesh
Approach road to 4th Tawi bridge yet to be reconstructed by JKPCC. —Excelsior/Rakesh

Gopal Sharma

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.