STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE
Bhawanipatna, 3 September
A strong sense of resentment is brewing among the local residents here as the concerned authorities are yet to take  any major step to expedite and complete the construction of the much-hyped bridge on Hati river near Junagarh, with many civil society organizations asking the government to take immediate steps.
The Kalahandi unit of Odisha Krushi Ebam Gramin Mazdoor Sangh staged a road blockade lamenting the callousness of the concerned department and demanding speeding up of the work.
Sources said that the stir continued for over three hours and was called off when senior district officials rushed to the spot and held discussions with the agitators.
“Apart from demanding retendering of the works and expediting it, we are also seeking construction of a 1.25 km long bridge instead of the proposed 98 metre bridge. We also want the contractor who has left the work halfway to be blacklisted,” said the president of the outfir, Mr Biranchi Narayan Panda.
Sources said that construction of the bridge on NH 201 with heightened embankments is a longstanding demand of the local population.
As the present low-embankment bridge was getting submerged in flood water badly disrupting the road connectivity, it was suggested to heighten the new bridge&’s embankments.
Accordingly, Rs 10.01 crore had been for the project, and the works started in 2010.
The villagers, however, lamented that the length of the proposed bridge was only 98 metres.
“We were not satisfied with the project from the beginning. While we expected that the bridge would be of at least 1.25 km, the authorities provided for only 98 metre which was far less than requirement.
Moreover, while the works were to be completed by February 2012, the deadline could not be met,” alleged a local resident.
The contractor reportedly abandoned the works halfway after spending nearly Rs 1.80 crore.
It was later found out that the work the contractor had done was of substandard quality.