ROURKELA: Construction of the much-awaited Timjor-Tainsor bridge over Brahmani river, aimed at connecting 18 remote gram panchayats in Sundargarh district, has brought little cheer to the villagers.
The bridge is yet to function as owing to delay in land acquisition, construction of the approach road to the structure has not started.
The project, for which the foundation stone was laid by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik in January 2014, should have been over by the end of 2016. However, it was delayed due to lackadaisical attitude of the Rural Development department.
The bridge holds importance as Brahmani river divides Lathikata block headquarters from seven gram panchayats on the eastern side and 11 on the west.
As per the project, from Timjor, the approach road would connect Lathikata block headquarters and National Highway. Similarly, the approach road from Tainsor side would connect the block to Kalunga-Gurundia PWD road.
Tainsor sarpanch Prahlad Oram said thousands of residents of Tainsor, Birkera, Birda, Badadalki and Jarakudar are directly affected due to absence of suitable connectivity. Similar is the plight of villagers of Garjan, Lungei, Balanda, Kalunga A and B and Chikatmati in Lathikata and Tamra in Gurundia block.
He said in the absence of connectivity, the villagers are forced to travel additional 40 to 60 km to reach the block office. While the distance from Tainsor to Lathikata block is around 42 km, once the bridge becomes functional, it would be reduced to just four km.
Bolani sarpanch Emilia Ekka said in the absence of the bridge, villagers of both sides depend on paid and ill-maintained ferry services to cross the river during monsoon. After the monsoon, the villagers depend on a makeshift bamboo bridge.
RN Pali MLA Subrat Tarai said the bridge is complete but the approach road on Tainsor side is yet to be constructed owing to a dispute with the land losers over compensation offered to them. The MLA said the Executive Engineer concerned has been asked to amicably settle the compensation issue and ensure the bridge is made functional at the earliest.