Work on Nikki Tawi bridge no where in sight

Gopal Sharma

JAMMU, Sept 25: Even after the one year of washing away of vital Tawi bridge connecting nearly 45 villages of island area of Phallain-Mandal with Jammu during September 2014 floods, the work on the new proposed bridge is no where in sight.

A population of over 30,000 souls of these villages of Marh and Raipur-Domana constituencies, represented by both BJP Ministers are suffering badly for the last one year now. Neither the temporary restoration of the half old existing bridge has been witnessed over Tawi, nor the work on the new bridge has practically taken off so far, despite the fact that the funds to the tune of Rs 20.50 crore stood released by the previous Government.

This vital bridge even in defence point of view, on downstream the fourth Tawi bridge had washed away in September 2014 floods. Hardly half of its portion had been left while rest of the bridge was washed away, snapping link to over 45 villages of Tawi island comprising of  nearly 30,000 souls.

Former Minister and senior NC leader Ajay Sadhotra who earlier represented Marh constituency, said that even today, no work on ground is witnessed at the site. He said the funds were released immediately after the washing away of this bridge by the previous NC-Congress Government. But till today after one year, the new Government failed to initiate work and provide relief to the people. He said a temporary kucha link from the 4th Tawi bridge was given  to this island area but that road also got damaged badly due to floods and its condition is worst. It was also not improved or upgraded.

Former MLA Marh and senior Congress leader, Balwan Singh said that with the attitude of this new regime, the people from 45 affected border villages of Mandal-Phallain are agitated. He said the people have been left to suffer since long. Till today no temporary restoration could be initiated for the large polulation of over 30,000 souls. The people are being forced to come out on the roads by the Government.

Chief Engineer, R&B Jammu Alok Mengi when contacted said that work of this bridge was assigned to JKPCC by the R&B department. He said the funds stand already released and the JKPCC has also allotted the work to a contractor. Some work has already been taken up by agency but due to rainy season the work got delayed over this bridge.  He said that 18 months time has been given to the contractor to complete this bridge. Its height and span (length) has also been increased.

Replying to a question on restoration work on old existing, half portion of the bridge, Mr Mengi said steel stress bridge is being extended on the half washed away portion of the bridge. Steel girdlers have been used and it will be put to public use within two weeks. Only light vehicles will be allowed to use this temporary bridge.

The work on 300 meters span double-lane Phallain-Mandal bridge on river Tawi has been started by the JKPCC and 18 months target has been given to the contracting agency for the completion of the work.

Managing Director JKPCC Hamid Sheikh when contacted said that  national tenders were floated and the work was allotted to M/s AK Constructions  with the cost of with Rs 21.50 crores recently. He said some work related to cutting edges  has already taken up at the site but there was rainy season ahead and it got delayed. The contractor has been given a time limit of 18 months and it is hoped that the work will be completed in the targeted time.

Replying to a question,  the MD said this new bridge on upper side of the old bridge  will be longer than the old existing bridge and its height has also been increased to protect it from massive floods.  He said from the left over half portion of the bridge, a temporary foot-bridge for public / light vehicles is being constructed and is almost ready.

He further said that the old existing bridge was 267 meters  in length while this bridge will be 300 meters long. The height has also been increased by nearly one and half meters or say nearly 5 ft as the flood water of Tawi had washed away half of the old bridge during September last year. While the old bridge was single without any foot paths, this new bridge will be double- lane with footpaths on both the sides. He said the design of the bridge has been approved by IIT Delhi. He claimed that the cost of the bridge including approach roads and some protection works may go up to Rs 25 crores.

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