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regular-article-logo Wednesday, 26 June 2024

Bengal govt plans four-lane Sagar Island bridge, toll collection

According to preliminary proposal drafted by public works department, the estimated cost of constructing it will be around Rs 1,648 crore

Pranesh Sarkar Calcutta Published 11.07.22, 02:16 AM
This will be the first project to be constructed using HAM. The state government has not levied toll on roads or bridges since the change of guard in 2011.

This will be the first project to be constructed using HAM. The state government has not levied toll on roads or bridges since the change of guard in 2011. Representational image by Shutterstock

The Bengal government is contemplating a proposal to construct a four-lane bridge over the Muriganga river to connect Sagar Island with Kakdwip on the mainland using the Hybrid Annuity Model (HAM).

Under HAM, the state government will pay 40 per cent of the cost to the agency that will build the bridge. The agency will shoulder the remaining 60 per cent of the construction cost. “The state government will collect toll from vehicles plying on the bridge and repay the agency over the next 15 years,” explained a senior official.

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The development is significant as it will be the first instance of the Mamata Banerjee government constructing an infrastructure project where it will collect toll.

“This will be the first project to be constructed using HAM. The state government has not levied toll on roads or bridges since the change of guard in 2011,” said a senior state government official.

The proposed bridge of over 3km length is a part of the government’s long-term plan to make communication facilities to Sagar Island better.

“At first, the Centre had agreed to build the bridge when it was decided that Bhor Sagar port would be set up at Sagar by the Union government. But as the plan never took off, the bridge was not constructed. Later, the Centre promised to build the bridge when the state had given it 74 per cent stake of the proposed Tajpur port in 2018. But later, the state decided to set up the Tajpur port on its own. So, it has to construct the bridge,” said a senior government official.

According to the preliminary proposal drafted by the public works department, the estimated cost of the bridge will be around Rs 1,648 crore.

“The cash-strapped state government cannot spend such a huge amount but at the same time, the bridge is also required. That is why HAM is the best method to set up the bridge,” said a bureaucrat.

Earlier, the Trinamul government had planned to levy toll tax on state highways. “But the plan did not materialise as the top brass of the government didn’t want to levy a toll,” said a source.

“If the state government changes its stand and agrees to levy user charges, it sends a good signal,” the source added.

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