| File picture of the old Sanjenthong bridge |
Imphal, May 25: The Okram Ibobi Singh government has come under heavy pressure from residents of the twin districts of Imphal East and West to complete the under-construction Sanjenthong bridge.
A citizens’ body, Sanjenthong Bridge Diversion Demand Committee, today gave Ibobi Singh one week’s time to initiate steps to construct a temporary bridge near the ongoing construction, which can be used as a thoroughfare by school and college students and for emergency services.
The bridge, near the chief minister’s office complex, is a very important link for the two districts. The government had decided to reconstruct the bridge after the old bridge could not take the volume of vehicular traffic. The old bridge has only two lanes.
The government plans to make the 22.27 metre long bridge across Imphal river a four-lane one. The Rs 31.31-crore project has been given to Simplex Infrastructure.
The residents of the districts have been inconvenienced since the government closed the bridge for reconstruction.
People are now using three other bridges across the Imphal river to go to either Imphal East or West. The residents complained that using the three bridges was not convenient for them.
Inconvenience is caused particularly to students of Imphal East as most of the schools, colleges and hospitals are located in Imphal West.
The government has set end of November as the time to open the newly-constructed bridge to the public.
Works minister Kh. Ratankumar Singh said the construction of the bridge would be completed before the state’s annual 10-day Sangai festival, which is held from November 21 every year at Hapta Kangjeibung in Imphal East.
The committee has demanded a temporary bridge by or near the ongoing construction to allow students and patients to reach the educational institutions and hospitals on the other side.
The demand committee today organised a public meeting in Imphal East to discuss the problems faced by the people.
“There are many students in Imphal East, who walk to schools and colleges in Imphal West. Since the bridge has been closed they have to use auto-rickshaws or taxis to reach and return from their schools and colleges,” L. Bijoy, president of the demand committee said.
Today’s meeting urged the government to immediately construct a temporary diversion bridge next to the under construction one.
The resolutions warned the government that if no steps were taken to construct a temporary bridge, the demand committee would use peaceful means of agitation.
The meeting also urged the government to upgrade the condition of the three bridges now used by the people as an alternative route and also improve the condition of roads leading to the bridges.