Vehicles plying over Nagarjan Bridge risky: R&B Minister

Vehicles plying over Nagarjan Bridge risky: R&B Minister
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Asks Dimapur administration to close down bridge

Dimapur, April 20: The State Roads & Bridges Department Friday again confirmed that plying of vehicles on the old bridge over Dhansiri River at Nagarjan is risky, but put the onus on the Dimapur District administration to close down the bridge.
Plying of vehicles over the bridge is a disaster waiting to happen, and it is a surprise and perhaps outright negligence that the Government and the district authorities have not thought it fit to close down the bridge. The Government appear to have no concern over the safety of its citizens plying over the decrepit bridge by putting up a sign “Cross at your own risks,” thereby abdicating any responsibilities.
Minister for PWD (R&B, Housing & Mech) Tongpang Ozukum who inspected the bridge at Nagarjan Friday has this to say on vehicles plying on the bridge: “It is risky.”
PWD (R&B) officials accompanying the Minister rued that even though the Government and the Department concerned have issued warning to the public; they still continue to ply through the bridge. “We have made appeals to people to avoid crossing the bridge risking their lives, but they are not listening,” the officials said.
The Minister and the officials were of the view that it is an administrative issue to close down the bridge “since it is risky.”
The Minister advised the public not to ply through the bridge. “We still reiterate that people should not ply and ask the District administration to issue another notification,” he said.
‘Govt’s 100 days road repair target on schedule’
The Minister, who went on a whirlwind inspection tour of bridge constructions and road repair works in Dimapur on Friday, said the People’s Democratic Alliance (PDA) Government will fulfil its promise of carrying out road repair activities within 100 days of its formation.
Interacting with media persons after his tour, Tongpang said that he had taken stock of the bridge over Chathe River, which is under construction and is supposed to be completed within 18 months. He said the work started in October 2017 and is going on smoothly. He also informed that a Bailey Bridge over the same river is under completion and within two weeks time, it would be open for public.
The bailey bridge is an alternate means of transport to the main bridge, which is still under construction.
When asked about the proposal of the Army to construct a bridge at the same place, departmental officials present said that they had done the survey six times and found that technically it was not feasible. However, the Army had constructed a floating bridge which remained there for 2 months.
The officials informed that the Bailey Bridge is being constructed by the Department and not by the Army. The Minister also assured that the Chathe river bridge will be completed on time.
Tongpang also visited Balijan where a bridge was washed away during heavy rains last year. He said that the Department has decided to change the course of the Balijan river. A new bridge is being planned over the river by opening the river course ,which would prevent erosion, he said.
An senior official of the Department said that though there is no fund available for the said bridge, they have requested the contractor to take up the project. “Once the villagers agree to diver the river, we will start,” he said. It was also informed that a sub-way is also being planned at the same place till the main bridge comes up.
The Minister also visited Balu River Bridge at the Assam-Nagaland border. The bridge is being constructed under Inter-State Connecting Scheme taken by PWD (R&B) under MoRTH.
Officials said after the bridge is completed, it would easy traffic, especially coming from Assam.
When asked about the funds available for the road construction in all the districts, the Minister disclosed that the project cost of roads repair is Rs 102 crore, of which the Government has assured Rs 50 crore. In the first phase, the Government has sanctioned Rs 25 crores already.
He informed that more funds will be made available for Dimapur and Kohima in the second phase and all respective divisions would be covered.
A department official said that for Dimapur, the project cost is Rs 11.64 crore to cover 21.60 km. The department has received 50% of it and is covering 10 km, which is a big achievement.
When asked about the plans of the PDA government on roads in Nagaland, the Minister said that it has already made Road Maintenance Policy, which would be monitored by the Task Force in all 24 Divisions of the state, headed by Superintending Engineers.
He also informed that the annual maintenance cost is Rs 50 crore. Out of Rs 380 crores required for annual maintenance, the Department is receiving Rs 50 crore, he added.
On the Foothill Road construction, the Minister blamed it on the change in policy of the Central Government, which disbanded the Planning Commission and formed the Niti Ayog.
He, however, said that he would discuss the issue with the Department. (Page News Service)