PONDA: Asserting that the state government is slowly but surely fulfilling the promises made during 2012 election, PWD Minister Ramkrishna Dhavalikar blamed the erstwhile Congress governments at the Centre and state for delay in starting the Khandepar bridge works.
Talking to media persons after laying the foundation stone for the first pillar of Khandepar bridge along National Highway-4A on Thursday in the presence of Chief Secretary R K Srivastav, Ponda MLA Lavu Mamledar, sarpanch of Khandepar Deepa Naik, ZP Curti Khandepar Mohan Verekar, engineers, councillors of Ponda Municipality and others, Dhavalikar claimed that the bridge work was supposed to start in 2007 when there was the Congress-led government in the state and at Centre but they did nothing for starting the work.
Dhavalikar said, “Land was acquired for the bridge in 1991, it was taken over by the government in 1999 and road alignments completed in the year 2007 but still work of construction was not initiated because of lack efforts by the then central Congress government.”
Dhavalikar said that the bridge was a long-pending demand of people of areas in Ponda, Sattari and Dharbandora talukas (which were then included in Sanguem taluka) and it would also benefit commuters going to Karnataka. He also said that work order for the bridge was issued seven months ago.
Dhavalikar informed that the work on approach roads to Zuari Bridge and missing link from Verna to Loutolim estimated to cost ` 280 crore and western by-pass estimated to cost ` 211 crore have already been started. He said that 12 kilometre Canacona road which includes three bridges will be completed within next three years. Detail project reports for NH-17A, NH-17B and NH-4 are ready and will be sent to central government in the coming month. He said that the government is trying its level best to build six-lane Borim bridge and road alignments for it from Borim to Curti-Ponda will be finalised in next two months.
Dhavalikar said that ` 129 crore has been sanctioned for the acquisition of land for the road from Ponda to Old Goa. Three flyovers and four-lane Banastari Bridge are also part of NH-4 project, he added.
Chief Secretary R K Srivastava said that the Khandepar bridge is the most important part of highway four-laning and will benefit many people adding, “It consists 7 kilometre span and estimated to cost ` 241 crore and will take three years to complete. The work has already been started in April.”
Lavu Mamledar said that the bridge has been a demand of people for last 25 years. He said mostly school children, working people and patients who suffered most due to the narrow bridge will benefit from the new one. He said that the bridge work was held up due to financial crunch.