Bhutni bridge to open today
Chief minister Mamata Banerjee will on Tuesday inaugurate a 1.5km-long bridge built over the Ganga to connect the Bhutni island on the river with the mainland.
She will also open a bridge connecting Malda in Bengal with the Katihar district of Bihar. The bridge over the Fulhar will reduce the distance between Malda and Katihar by around 90km.
Mamata, who will attend an administrative review meeting here, will inaugurate a slew of other projects from the same dais and launch around 20 new projects.
The Bhutni islet has three panchayats. It is known for agricultural production and so far, it was connected to the mainland of Malda district on the left bank only through boats.
The lack of road connectivity affected the development of Bhutni and the cry for a bridge remained unfulfilled for decades.
“I was first approached by Sabitri Mitra after she became an MLA from Manikchak and joined my cabinet to construct a bridge to Bhutni. My visit to Manikchak made me feel that the bridge was a must for lakhs of people who live on the island. That is why I decided to build the bridge spending as much money as required,” Mamata had said after her government had taken up the project in 2013.
During all her subsequent visits to Malda, she enquired about the progress of the work. It took almost six years to build the 1.790km-long bridge. A sum of Rs 131 crores has been spent for the project.
“My gratitude to the chief minister as she did not hesitate to sanction adequate funds for the bridge and the dream is now a reality,” said Sabitri on Monday.
The residents are equally happy.
“Till now, it was tough to get brides for our sons. We are grateful to the chief minister,” said Suren Mondal, a resident of Hiranandapur, one of the villages of Bhutni.
Mamata will inaugurate another bridge over the Fulhar that would connect Malda and Bihar.
“The distance between Malda and the Katihar district in Bihar through NH131A would now be only 100km. As of now, people have to travel around 190km to reach Katihar,” said Jagannath Samanta, an executive engineer of state public works department.
The work on the bridge had commenced in 2015 and Rs 289.69 crore was spent, he said.
Officials said altogether 42 projects worth Rs 831.64 crore would be inaugurated by the chief minister. She will also lay foundations of 22 new projects which involve another Rs 71.41 crore.