Darjeeling MP Raju Bista today said that the Union Minister of State for Road Transport & Highways, Gen (Dr) Vijay Kumar Singh, has informed him that a Detailed Project Report (DPR) for a new bridge, an alternative to the existing Coronation Bridge, over the Teesta river at Sevoke near Siliguri was in progress.
“VK Singh ji has stated that the Ministry of Railways has agreed to transfer the rail Right of Way (ROW) for the construction of the approach road of the new bridge with certain modifications in the approved alignment,” Mr Bista said in a release, adding that the project has been included under the National Infrastructure Pipeline (NIP) programme for 2023-24.
The Coronation Bridge that connects the critical ‘Chicken Neck’ region of Darjeeling, Kalimpong, Siliguri, Sikkim to Jalpaiguri, Alipurduars, Cooch Behar and the rest of North East was built in the year 1937.
“Given that this region borders China, Bhutan and Bangladesh, this bridge is vital from the perspective of our national security, as it is used for both civil and military purposes,” Mr Bista said. According to Mr Bista, he had, on 17 March 2020, raised the matter concerning the delay in the construction of an alternative to Coronation Bridge connecting Sevoke Bazaar in Darjeeling district and Ellenbari in Jalpaiguri district under Rule 377 of the Parliament.