Assuring that the Zuari bridge is in good condition and can serve the public for at least three years, Minister for Public Works Ramakrishna ‘Sudin’ Dhavalikar said that this bridge has been opened for regular traffic of up to 16.5 tonnes from July 2017, and is being maintained from time to time.
“We have fitted cameras on the bridge for maintaining the speed limit of the vehicles travelling over it, as also ensured that two professors of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Mumbai, which has been appointed as proof consultant for the bridge, visit and inspect the bridge every month,” Dhavalikar added, informing that the first phase of the new Zuari bridge with four-lane road would be operational by December 2019, even though the work of the entire bridge is slated to be completed by 2021.
The Minister for Public Works, taking strong objection to the recent statement of Goa Pradesh Congress Committee president Girish Chodankar that he has no trust in Dhavalikar and the government must come clean on the safety of the Zuari bridge, quipped that in such a case, why is Chodankar sending former Congress ministers and MLAs as fillers to the MGP, seeking its support to form Congress-led government in Goa.
It was further informed that the under-construction Galgibaga, Talpona and Khandepar bridges would be completed by March 2019.
The Minister for Public Works, addressing a press conference on Monday, admitted that the state government had written a letter to the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways as regards increase in the
vibrations in the Zuari bridge. “It is a general practice to inform the central ministry about such a thing, which occurs as the age of any bridge advances,” he observed, pointing out, “However, Chodankar, who got hold of the letter, used it to create panic among the Goans about the condition of the Zuari bridge, which is highly condemnable.”
The government has also planned to soon send a team of public works department engineers to Patna in Bihar, for studying a technology, which will help in demolishing the deck slab of the existing Zuari bridge and replacing it with a new one, once the new Zuari bridge becomes operational. The existing Zuari bridge will also be used to carry a number of utilities like pipelines and cable over it.
Speaking further, Dhavalikar informed that recently, the government has completed Rs 13 crore worth strengthening works on the Borim bridge. “Furthermore, a new four-lane Borim bridge would be constructed soon, with the central funds,” he revealed, mentioning that a detailed project report for the same has already been forwarded to the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways.
Dhavalikar, who also holds the River Navigation portfolio, said that an Expression of Interest has been floated for 72-seater solar-powered ferryboat, which will operate on the Panaji-Aldona route. “We are also proposing to start another such ferryboat on Panaji-Sanvordem route,” he added, pointing out that both these ferryboats would operate on trial basis.
It was further informed that each of such ferryboats will cost Rs 2 crore, and besides the solar-power technology, would also be equipped with an alternative diesel engine.