ROURKELA: As the inordinate delay in construction of second Brahmani bridge on NH-143 continues to provide fodder to the opponents of the BJP, the party legislator of Rourkela, Dilip Ray, on Thursday said if needed, he may go against his party to protect the interest of the city.
To a query on the delay, Ray said he is also worried as despite announcement by Prime Minister Narendra Modi about the Brahmani bridge and upgradation of the RSP-run Ispat General Hospital on April 1, 2015, the two projects are not moving on the expected lines. Ray said for him the interest of the people of his constituency is supreme and if needed, he may go against his party.
Earlier on the day, Union Tribal Affairs Minister Jual Oram and Ray held a review meeting with Bhubaneswar-based Chief General Manager and Regional Officer of National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), D Sarangi, and inquired about the status of NH-143 four-lane project from Birmitrapur to Barkote, including construction of second Brahmani bridge at Panposh.
Jual said he would meet Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari on December 26 over the issue. Sarangi told this paper that technical evaluation of the first package from Birmitrapur to Rajamunda is in progress and hoped that finalisation of financial bid and agreement signing with contract firm would be completed in 45 days. He, however, refused to hazard any guess to a query on when the work would start. The project will be taken up on EPC (Engineering Procurement & Construction) mode and the NHAI would lay thrust on construction of the second Brahmani bridge parallel to the existing Brahmani bridge on priority.
Allaying fear that the six-decade-old bridge over river Brahmani may collapse anytime, Sarangi said the foundation, pillars, road surface and guard walls of the existing bridge are very strong. He said the expansion joints and slabs occasionally get damaged and the NHAI is preparing an action plan to tackle the situation.
Meanwhile, members of the newly-formed Brahmani Setu Sangram Samiti on Thursday held a protest demonstration at Panposh Square and sent a memorandum to Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, demanding his intervention to expedite the NHAI project. They said the Brahmani bridge on NH-143 forms a key economic link with Jharkhand’s capital Ranchi and Chhattisgarh’s capital Raipur along with western districts of Odisha.