Congr leader writes to Gadkari on Ganga bridge

Congr leader writes to Gadkari on Ganga bridge

PTI file photo

A senior Congress leader from Bihar has shot off a letter to Union minister Nitin Gadkari, alleging "massive corruption" in the renovation of the more than five km long bridge over the river Ganges which has been under repair for close to a decade.

Prem Chandra Mishra, a MLC and a national media panelist of the AICC, shot off a detailed, six-page letter on Wednesday to Union Road Transports and Highways minister, who is scheduled to visit Patna on Friday to take part in the inauguration of the annual session of the Indian Road Congress the apex body of highway engineers across the country.

The bridge in question is the Mahatma Gandhi Setu, which connects Patna to Hajipur and at 5.75 km is the third largest river bridge in the country, which was thrown open to the public way back in 1982 and had figured in "Landmark bridges of India" a series of postage stamps issued by the postal department in 2007.

"There cannot be a better occasion than the Indian Road Congress Annual Conference in Patna ... conferences, symposiums, workshops, seminars, etc, do not have any meaning if experiences and outcomes gained through these events are not put to practical purposes. The same holds true for the Mahatma Gandhi Setu in Patna", Mishra said in the letter.

According to the senior Congress leader, the renovation of the bridge suffers from severe shortcomings on account of "wrong contractor selection", lapses like a "blacklisted" engineering firm being entrusted with supervision, "wrong agency selection" for designing purpose, and "improper dismantling", among others.

"Most importantly, ... team leader of monitoring and supervision and the resident engineers were removed when they raised ... questions. This is shameful and deserves action and investigation", Mishra said.

"The bridge has been and still is the lifeline of north Bihar. In this connection, I am drawing your attention towards poor implementation in the following pages. It is my request to you to take remedial measures for the betterment of people of Bihar", he added.

After dwelling on the aforementioned points at length, the Congress leader added as a parting note "we are ignoring and compromising all construction methodologies, specifications, practices and procedures making it structurally weak, susceptible to catastrophe or at least structurally deficient requiring huge maintenance cost and giving it very short life".

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