KENDRAPARA: Construction of a 350 metre-long bridge over river Kanthia under Pattamundai block has been moving at a snail's pace due to apathetic attitude of authorities concerned.
As of today, only two pillars have been constructed even as the works began in 2011 at the estimated cost of `3 crore. Although the contractor who had taken up the work, abandoned it, the authorities are yet to select another contractor for the purpose.
The bridge is a curcial link for villagers of Krushadaspur, Kusami, Palini, Earadanga, Ketuapala, Desahi, Gobindapur, Singhagaon, Dandisahi and other villages located on both sides of the river. These villages have a combined population of around one lakh.
Sarapanch of Singhagaon gram panchayat, Nirmal Chandra Jena, said the partially constructed pillars have already developed cracks in them.
On Friday, a group of villagers met the Collector in Kendrapara and demanded to initiate measures to complete the bridge soon. "We have threatened to launch protest from July 30 over the delay in construction of the bridge", said the Sarapanch. Due to the non-completion of the bridge, villagers depend upon rickety boats to cross the river.
"People of the area are suffering due to non-availability of a proper communication link. Delay in construction of the bridge is causing inconvenience to thousands of people,", Iswarchandra Sethi of Krushnadaspur village.
Executive Engineer of Rural Development wing, Kendrapara, Trilochana Debata said the contractor was forced to stop construction work two years back as some villagers did not allow him to build store houses over the land of some persons. Villagers also opposed the construction of an approach road claiming that the land belonged to some villagers. Debata said discussions are on between the villagers and contractor to sort out the matter and construction work will be restarted soon.