Centre’s NOC for six-lane bridge over Ganga in Patna
PATNA: A six-lane state-of-the-art bridge over the river Ganga, parallel to the 30 years old Gandhi Setu, will be constructed. The Centre has agreed to issue no objection certificate (NOC) for the new bridge to connect north Bihar with state capital and its southern parts. It will cost around Rs 2,000 crore.
The agreement was finalized after chief minister Nitish Kumar’s meeting with Union minister for road transport and highways, C P Joshi, in New Delhi on Tuesday. The new bridge will connect Kachchi Dargah in Patna with Biddupur in Vaishali. It is to be constructed under the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) mode and likely to be completed in five to six years time after the work starts.
The state government had proposed this bridge last year after its attempts to repair or reconstruct the 5.75km-long cantilever Gandhi Setu proved futile as experts and consultants reported that its condition was beyond improvement. The Union ministry has also agreed to maintain the Gandhi Setu till the new bridge comes up, said road construction department secretary and Bihar Pul Nirman Nigam chairman Pratyaya Amrit from Delhi. On completion, the new bridge will be handed over to the National Highway Authority of India for upkeep and maintenance.
The issue of Gandhi Setu, touted as the lifeline of Bihar, was hanging fire for long even as the condition of Asia’s longest river bridge got deteriorated. The CM told Joshi that the toll from the bridge was going to the Centre. So it was the Centre’s responsibility to maintain it. In recent times, the road construction department officials had at least six meetings with secretary in the Union ministry for road transport and highways, A K Upadhyaya, for solution to the deteriorating condition of the Setu.
After the Centre’s agreement, a global tender will be floated for the construction of the new bridge. The Bakhtiarpur-Tajpur bridge, which is under construction, is the first bridge in Bihar under the PPP mode.
The CM also discussed with Joshi about the long pending Bhagalpur bypass which is to be constructed at a cost of Rs 233 crore. Joshi assured that the Centre would make allocation for this project. The state government has already acquired the land for the bridge. The CM also drawn Joshi’s attention about the damaged Dumri bridge and stressed on its reconstruction which would entail an expenditure of Rs 50 crore.