| Dhanaha residents gather on the Gandak riverbank to see chief minister Nitish Kumar inaugurate the Gautam Buddha bridge in Bagaha on Tuesday. Picture by Awadh Kishor Tiwari |
Chief minister Nitish Kumar on Tuesday inaugurated the Dhanaha-Ratwal bridge in Bagaha and named it after Gautam Buddha.
The 1,848m bridge will provide smooth connectivity to at least four lakh people in the four blocks of Sakara, Bhitaha, Madhubani and Piprasi in West Champaran district. There are close to 50 villages in the region.
The bridge, around 250km north of Patna, would be a boon for sugarcane growers. Thanks to the Gautam Buddha bridge, the farmers would be able to take their produce directly to the sugar mills.
Tirthraj Kushwaha, a farmer in Bagaha, said: “The bridge will help free the sugarcane farmers from the clutches of middlemen. Now, instead of selling their produce to the middlemen, the farmers can directly transport it to the factories.”
Apart from benefiting the residents of the four blocks, the bridge would also facilitate connectivity between the region and Gopalganj district. Another bridge on the Gandak is under construction — it would link Gopalganj and West Champaran.
The bridge would ensure a link to the Buddhist circuit, connecting Asokan pillar at Lauria Nandangarh (West Champaran) and Kushinagar in eastern Uttar Pradesh.
It would also provide police easy access to the long stretches of the diara areas on the both sides of the Pipra-Piprasi embankment and the Champaran embankment.
Nitish, reminding the people of how he was working hard to fulfil his promises, exhorted the gathering to maintain social and communal amity. He described it as the “key to success and development”.
He also used the occasion to enumerate the work the government was doing in the infrastructure sector. Preferring to keep his speech to his government’s work rather than attacking his opponents, Nitish said he would soon be able to ensure adequate power supply in the state’s hinterland.
Anjani Kumar Singh, the chief minister’s principal secretary, Pratyaya Amrit, the road construction secretary, Sanjeev Hans, the chairman of Bihar State Bridge Construction Corporation, and Amrit Raj, the deputy inspector-general of police, in charge of the Champaran range, were present at the inauguration.
The chief minister had laid the foundation stone of the Dhanaha-Ratwal bridge on January 20, 2009, during his Vikas Yatra. He had spent four days in February and April this year to review the progress of the bridge and other facilities coming up in the region.
The bridge, constructed at a cost of Rs 358.67 crore, has become operational five days before the project’s deadline.