The bridge on Damodar is used by only two-wheelers for lack of an approach road. (Pankaj Singh)
Politicians cutting across party lines have upped the ante in their demand for approach road on either side of the bridge on Damodar so that commuters can use it after a wait of over eight years to cut short travelling time between Bokaro and Chandrapura.
Bermo legislator of the Congress and Opposition leader Rajendra Prasad Singh teamed up with firebrand Dumri MLA and JMM leader Jagannath Mahto to press the demand during a district development committee meeting at the deputy commissioner’s (DC) office on Tuesday.
The MLAs from rival parties questioned DC Sunil Kumar about the inordinate delay in construction of approach roads, adding they would even raise the matter in the Assembly if no measures were soon taken.
“What is the use of a Rs 10-crore bridge when there are no approach roads leading to it?” Mahto told The Telegraph today, threatening to start an agitation.
Then chief minister Babulal Marandi had laid the foundation stone of the 400m bridge — a route that could bring down the distance between the industrial township and Bokaro steel city from 32km to 5km — within a year of Jharkhand’s formation in 2001.
Marandi’s successor Arjun Munda inaugurated the bridge on October 2, 2004, directing public works department and district officials to ensure construction of the approach roads within six months.
Senior JMM leader Mantu Yadav pointed out the Bokaro Steel management had already built a road up to Sector IX but another 2km stretch cutting through Rani Pokhar, Baidmara and Basteji villages remained.
On the Chandrapura end of the bridge, barely half a kilometre in Dugda needs to be built. In 2008, Damodar Valley Corporation and Central Coalfields Limited completed nearly 80 per cent of the approach road in Dugda.
Bokaro legislator Samresh Singh of the JVM said that as a member of Marandi’s cabinet he played an instrumental role in completion of the bridge but could scarcely believe the fact that there were no approach roads yet.
Bokaro DC Kumar said the district road construction officials had sent a project report and estimates for the approach roads three years ago, but were still awaiting sanctions.
He promised to take up the matter with senior department officials in Ranchi.