Fed up with the delay in the Centre sanctioning funds for the maintenance of the Mahatma Gandhi Setu, the State Government has decided to carry out repair of the bridge linking North Bihar with the State Capital with its own resources.
Chief Minister Nitish Kumar took the decision during a late night stroll along the Ganga over which the bridge stands. Alarmed when briefed about the state of the distressed Setu and the unending traffic snarls, he issued necessary instructions to Road Construction Minister Nand Kishore Yadav on the spot.
Nitish said that even while funding repair of the bridge, State Government keep up the pressure on the Centre to release fund.
Following Chief Minister's instructions, Yadav convened a high-level meeting and issued necessary directives on reconstruction of the Setu. He said the State Government would seek help from international experts for reconstruction of the Setu and, if required, would completely change the upper structure as a long-term measure. “At the same time the ongoing repair being funded by the Centre will also continue”, he added.
Six months ago the State government had submitted a plan for repair of the entire bridge to the Union Surface Transport Ministry, Yadav said with the suggestion to consult international experts for a long-term solution to the problem. However, Yadav regretted that the Centre was yet to respond to the State Government’s proposal despite the fact that the condition of the Setu was deteriorating by the day.
“Snapping of the vital link between North and South Bihar will adversely affect the State’s economy,” he asserted. A survey conducted on the Setu in January had revealed that nine spans had ‘external pre-stressing’ and 33 required immediate change of hinge bearing. This is in addition to the repair work being carried.
The State Government had invited bids for additional immediate repairs after the Centre failed to respond to a memorandum submitted by the State Government in January.