SRIKAKULAM: The woes of people of Srikakulam district in terms of crossing rivers by boats for day-to-day activities are insurmountable and have been plaguing them for a very long time now. To overcome this problem, construction of bridges over the rivers was sanctioned years ago. However, the end to this particular problem appears to be nowhere closer.
Boat mishaps are frequent in the rainy season as they capsize in the flood waters. As a permanent solution, construction of bridges was mooted. However, it has been alleged that the government funds are going down the drain because of inordinate delay in the construction of bridges.
Exemplifying this are the delayed construction of bridges over the Nagavali and the Vamsadhara rivers. The Roads and Buildings (R and B) officials promised to complete the bridge over the Nagavali connecting Srikakulam and Ponnada village by June this year but the works have not been expedited to meet the deadline which they set for themselves, thereby incurring the wrath of the people.
The then government sanctioned Rs 21 crore for the bridge in 2012, much to the relief of the people of the region. The construction began with a bang with the then CM Kiran Kumar Reddy laying the foundation stone and asking the officials to complete the bridge at the earliest.
The bridge was expected to be completed in two years and serve the people of 30 villages, especially students and farmers of Ponnada, Kongaram, Bontalakoduru, Dharmavaram, Venkannagaripeta and connect Etcherla mandal.
However, the project was beset by many troubles. In the beginning there were problems like HT wire and land acquisition. One pillar of the bridge was left half completed on the Ponnada side.
The people now highly doubt if it would be completed any time soon given the rate of construction which is going on at a snail’s pace.
Despite the locals expressing their resentment over the abysmally slow pace of construction, the officials seemed to have turned a deaf ear.
A Ponnada student, Bhavani, felt that if the pillar was completed in summer the bridge would have been a reality by now. Under these circumstances, boat travel becomes a necessity even during floods.
Even if the district faced deficit rainfall, copious rains in Odisha would flood the Nagavali. Going by the records, there is a possibility of floods this month itself. Also, the bridge work can be undertaken now as the water level in Nagavali is presently low.
Meanwhile, R and B superintending engineer Ramachandra said that only one pillar was to be laid which would be done soon.