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A bridge too far!

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  27 April 2016 12:00 AM GMT

Uncertainty looms large over Rs 4,238 cr rengi-Kuruwa bridge project, 3 consultancy firms & IIT-G yet to be paid consultancy fees

BY OUR STAFF REPORTER

GUWAHATI, April 26: Ahead of the Assam assembly elections when Union minister Nitin Gadkari laid the foundation stone of a bridge over Brahmaputra connecting river island Majuli with the rest of the world, Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi questioned the move and alleged that the foundation stone was laid without any survey or detailed project report (DPR). However, the same allegation can be raised against Gogoi when it comes to the proposed Kuruwa bridge over Brahmaputra on the outskirts of Guwahati.

The rengi-Kuruwa bridge, upon completion will connect rengi on the outskirts of Guwahati with Kuruwa on the Northern bank, with a road link up to Dumuni Chowki in Darrang district. Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi laid the foundation stone of this bridge on March 1 this year, days after Gadkari laid the foundation stone of the Majuli bridge.

The rengi-Kuruwa bridge was touted to be the first bridge the construction of which will be funded entirely by the State government. The total road and bridge length will be 23.064 km, with the bridge section supposed to be 2.89 km long. The total cost of the project was estimated at Rs 4,238 crores.

However, it has now come to light that let alone DPR sanction, the State government has not even paid the major part of consultancy fees of the project. Of the total consultancy fees of Rs 5.2 crore, sanctioned by Assam Infrastructure Fincing Authority (AIFA), only Rs 76 lakh have been paid till date. The AIFA was supposed to fund the entire cost for constructing the bridge and road project.

The three consultancy firms associated with the project are — M/s RITES Ltd, M/s STUP Consultations Pvt. Ltd and M/s Gifford India Pvt. Ltd (JV).

Meanwhile, the State Public Works department (PWD) has not yet collected the report on DPR from IIT Guwahati which was sent there for proof checking. But the PWD still has not gotten around to paying the Rs 12 lakh fee to IIT Guwahati for this work. For this reason, the latter has not yet released its report.

So how serious is the State government about going ahead with the rengi-Kuruwa bridge project it had announced with so much fanfare? Did Chief Minister Gogoi lay its foundation stone to counter Gadkari’s laying of the Majuli bridge foundation stone? With the assembly elections done and over with, the future of the Kuruwa bridge now rests on the poll results. Whichever government assumes office after May 19, will have to take a call on this proposed bridge.

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