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The abandoned bridge

SILCHAR, Sept 26: The sad tale of a bridge which should have been ready by 2007 lies abandoned due to the expiry of the contractor who was entrusted with the construction work. This was revealed after an RTI application was filed by Rathindra Chandra Roy, president, Cachar Human Rights Organisation, Lakhipur to the SDO (civil) and the reply to it given by the PWD, Silchar Road Division. The incomplete work of this bridge has been highlighted by the media umpteen times but without any response from the administration or the authority concerned. Even the people's representative of the area, Dinesh Prasad Goala, former minister, remained unmoved though everyday hundreds of people of Shibpur and Lakhipur areas use it for their daily movement and necessity.
The RTI reveals that the work on the bridge started on January 10, 2005 and had to be completed within 24 months i.e. in 2007. But after some basic structural work and raising of a pillar on river Chiri, there has been no progress. The allotted fund for it was Rs. 4.27 crore. The contractor entrusted with the construction was Amalendu Deb.
Interestingly, the foundation stoneof this bridge was laid by Dinesh Prasad Goala on April 11, 2005. The question is if the foundation was in April, how could work startin January of the same year? More surprisingly, the reason attributedfor no further work was due to theexpiry of the contractor. And since then, the PWD has not been able tofind out a contractor to resume thework although nearly 4 years have elapsed.
The toiling masses of the greater Shibpur-Lakhipur areas who have been demanding a bridge are facing extreme difficulties in commuting to meet their basic needs of life, dependent as they are on agriculture and other sundry works. During high spates or floods, when Chiri river is full, the people have to take to boats inthe absence of any State Government arranged barge. In the meantime, a bamboo bridge isthe only means of links between Shibpur and Lakhipur which too isrisky, resulting in frequent accidents.
It is expected that the RTI and the information on the bridge divulged would now activate the PWD and the civil authority to initiate immediate measures for resuming the work and completing the bridge. (SentinelAssam)

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