A woman constable stops a dumper near Kharkai bridge in Bistupur on Sunday. Picture by Animesh Sengupta
East Singhbhum district administration has enforced a ban on commercial vehicles on Kharkai bridge linking Jamshedpur to Adityapur industrial area in Seraikela-Kharsawan from Sunday, making it compulsory for them to ply on Adityapur toll bridge only.
Deputy superintendent of police (traffic) Jagdish Prasad said the clamp on heavy and light commercial vehicles on Kharkai bridge was put after a high-level meeting between East Singhbhum and Seraikela-Kharsawan district administrations.
The move is aimed at making Kharkai bridge safer for cars and two-wheelers and, equally important, to shore up revenues for Adityapur Toll Bridge Company Limited (ATBCL).
Heavy vehicles, which pay toll ranging from Rs 20 to Rs 50 depending on their size, form the bulk of the ATBCL’s revenues. But, most drivers prefer the Kharkai bridge as it is free and 7km less of a detour in comparison to a drive on the toll bridge.
Over 500 heavy and light commercial vehicles such as trucks, trailers, dumpers and pick-up vans ply on Kharkai bridge everyday to reach Adityapur industrial area.
Since the toll bridge came up in July 2011, the ATBCL had been requesting the state government to ban commercial vehicles on Kharkai bridge.
Though the district administrations of East Singhbhum and Seraikela-Kharsawan had issued restrictions earlier as well, truckers did not take them seriously.
Recently, Kolhan commissioner Alok Goyel convened a meeting among East Singhbhum and Seraikela-Kharsawan deputy commissioners Amitabh Kaushal and Hansraj Singh and traffic police personnel at Chaibasa to firm up the clamp of heavy vehicles on Kharkai bridge.
“Right now, we are restricting movement of pick-up vans, dumpers and trucks on Kharkai bridge by deputing a skeletal staff of traffic police wing. But, we will set up a proper picket and put up a signboard near Kharkai bridge at its Bistupur-end declaring restriction of heavy and light commercial vehicles once we get a notification to this effect from the administration. This modality is being worked out,” DSP (traffic) Prasad said.
From Sunday, if a heavy vehicle from Adityapur industrial area wants to reach NH-33 and leave for Ranchi or Calcutta, it will take a turn near Tata-Kandra crossing to reach the toll bridge and then Marine Drive to touch NH-33.
Likewise, if a heavy vehicle wants to enter Jamshedpur or Adityapur from NH-33, it will cross Mango bridge to reach Marine Drive and then, Adityapur toll bridge.