In view of the upcoming Gangasagar Mela in the state, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday urged the Railways to grant necessary approvals for completion of the city’s new Majherhat bridge by December, after the state government failed to meet its earlier deadline.
Sources said in a letter to Railway Minister Piyush Goyal, Banerjee sought his personal intervention to ensure prompt approvals of launching schemes and Commissioner of Railway Safety (CRS) clearance so that construction work of the bridge can be completed by next month, after missing the September target.
Banerjee stated that after the sudden collapse of the Majerhat railway overbridge (ROB) on Diamond Harbour Road, Kolkata, on September 4, 2018, the state had taken up the reconstruction with a target to complete it by September 2019.
“You would appreciate that this is a very important bridge connecting Kolkata to important places of South 24 Parganas district, particularly the Sagar Islands. Every year, in mid January, lakhs and lakhs of pilgrims from UP, Bihar, Jharkhand and other states of India come to the auspicious Gangasagar Mela held in Sagar Islands. This is indeed a festival of national importance… In order to keep the flow of traffic to and fro the Sagar Islands smooth, it was our earnest endeavour to complete the Majherhat bridge by September, 2019. However, the project got delayed due to lack of timely clearance from (the) Railways and revised completion target was set at December 2019,” read the letter.
She expressed her concern that it might get further delayed for lack of launching scheme and CRS clearance for the construction of a superstructure over the railway tracks under the bridge.
“Foundation and sub-structure of the bridge and approach is almost complete. The construction of the super-structure can be taken up only after obtaining the clearances. I would request for your personal intervention and to (sic) kindly issue instructions to (the) Railway Authorities concerned for prompt approval of Launching Scheme and CRS clearance. In addition, the Railway Authorities may also be requested to provide other requisite facilitation, including traffic blockade from time to time, in order to ensure completion of the bridge by end of December 2019 keeping in view the upcoming Gangasagar Mela…,” read the letter.
Four people were killed after a section of the over 50-year-old bridge in south Kolkata had collapsed on September 4 last year.
It has been 14 months since, but residents of Behala, New Alipore and Maheshtala in South 24 Parganas say their problems have not been addressed, despite various efforts by the administration.