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Year-end bridge boon

- Stir spectre prompts Tatas to speed up Kharkai link road

Threat of a massive agitation has finally been able to achieve what back-breaking rides, frequent mishaps and commuter complaints could not.

Tata Steel, which took over construction of the approach road to the second bridge over river Kharkai from Bistupur-end from subsidiary Jusco, has promised to complete the project, by December 30. The company also promised to expedite work in a bid to dissuade Jan Kalyan Morcha, a local NGO whose crusade led to the construction of the Rs 14.5-crore bridge, from carrying on its 12-hour maha dharna on Friday in protest against the delay.

The Morcha, quite expectedly, announced on Thursday that its protest stood cancelled as of now.

“Bituminous work will start next week from all three sides — Regal, Voltas Building and the old Kharkai bridge. The project is expected to be completed by December 30,” reads the letter that was sent to Dhalbhum SDO Prem Ranjan along with a note that says that the company is trying to speed up construction.

The letter, a copy of which is with The Telegraph, also blames a number of external factors for slow pace of work. It says that Tata Steel’s central project engineering division faced several hurdles as the contractor, which had built the second bridge over Kharkai, had not vacated the godown that was falling in the road alignment site. A prolonged monsoon played spoilsport too.

Jan Kalyan Morcha had threatened on November 20 that if the approach road was not ready by December 12, it would go on a maha dharna at the Bistupur-end on December 13, the day construction of the second bridge had started five years ago. On November 22, Jan Kalyan Morcha’s president Om Prakash had led a delegation to East Singhbhum deputy commissioner Amitabh Kaushal’s office.

“But as Tata Steel has accelerated work and promised to complete the approach road by December 30, we are calling off our maha dharna on Friday,” Om Prakash told The Telegraph.

At present, the temporary road leading to the second Kharkai bridge is in poor shape with potholes and craters giving nightmare to commuters frequenting between Adityapur and Jamshedpur.

“We not only have to drive through bumps and craters, but also end up inhaling a lot of dust every day,” complained Anjani Kumar Sinha, a resident of Adityapur.

While the state road construction department coughed up Rs 38 lakh for the project, Tata Steel has spent over Rs 10 crore.

As far as the approach road from Adityapur-end is concerned, Jharkhand Accelerated Road Development Company finished work by October 2012.