The Bistupur end of the old Kharkai bridge remains closed, adding to inconvenience. Picture by Animesh Sengupta
Aradhna Singh (32), a resident of Adityapur Housing Colony, hurt her hand and leg when her scooter hit a pothole on the approach to the new Kharkai bridge on Saturday
Sukhbir Singh (22) of Sakchi Gurdwara Bustee fell off his bike when he tried to bypass a crater on Sunday. He received grievous shoulder injuries
Ever since the old link over Kharkai was closed a week ago, mishaps have increased manifold on the approach to the new bridge from the Bistupur end. Official reports peg the number of accidents at 20 in seven days, but fortunately none of them fatal.
Sources said this road to the new bridge was a temporary one, and construction of a permanent approach was in progress. Being temporary, the road understandably lacks strength. Adding to the catastrophe is heavy rain, which washes away the pitch cover, scooping out potholes and craters all the way and making commuting a nightmare.
Cars, bikes and even heavy vehicles — around one lakh of them cross the road and new bridge daily — often careen off their designated path to roll down a slope or overturn.
Concerned over the accidents, voluntary organisation Jan Kalyan Morcha on Monday submitted a memorandum to the Seraikela-Kharsawan deputy commissioner — the monitor of the new Kharkai bridge — urging for immediate repairs.
Morcha president Om Prakash has requested the district mandarins to prod Tata Steel, which is constructing the permanent approach road, to mend the temporary one too.
“The old bridge is closed and the temporary road to the new one is severely damaged. How does one commute in such a situation? The administration and the company should have fixed the approach before shutting down the old bridge. They can also do it now,” he added.
The Morcha has also demanded that the permanent approach be made ready before Durga Puja, when revellers in large numbers visit Adityapur via the Kharkai bridge.
Executive engineer (road construction) Sanjay Kumar Singh said he would request the steel major to mend the temporary approach road and also expedite construction of the permanent one. “When a big project gets underway, there are collateral damages. We are sorry that people are being inconvenienced. The company will be urged to fix the road,” Singh added.
An official of Tata Steel’s logistics department said the temporary link would be fixed soon though the permanent road would not be ready before October-end. “The stretch is congested. So, work is progressing slow. It will not be possible to complete the approach road before Puja,” he added.