Reported by Ranjan Rath
Malkangiri, Oct 29:
After a gap of eight years, the survey work for construction of the crucial bridge over Gurupriya river in Kudumulugumma block of Odisha’s Malkangiri district began today.
It may be mentioned that the state government had awarded the tender to Gamon India for construction of the proposed bridge in 2006. However, the company withdrew from the project before undertaking any construction work following frequent Maoist threats and attacks.
After Gamon’s exit, the government had floated the tender as many as nine times for the construction of the bridge, but there were no takers for it solely due to the Maoist threat.
After failing in its effort, the state government had approached the Odisha Bridge Construction Corporation (OBCC) and even the Border Road Organisation (BRO) of the Defence ministry but they too expressed reluctance to take up the project.
However, at long last, after getting the approval of the Home department, the state government has entrusted the construction work to the Kolkata-based Royal Infra Construction Ltd.
The company began the survey work today, sources said.
The cost of the 910-metre long bridge has been estimated at Rs 172 crore. The company has been asked to complete the construction work within two years.
To ensure uninterrupted construction of the bridge, the state government would deploy the Border Security Force (BSF) and the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) to provide security to the engineers and staff of the company.
The proposed bridge, after construction, will connect 140 cut-off villages of Janbai, Papermatla, Jodamba, Badapadara, Raleguda and Panasput panchayats under Kudumulugumma block in the district.
It may be mentioned that the geographical location of this cut-off area in the district, which borders Andhra Pradesh and Chhattisgarh with dense forest cover, has allowed the Maoists to use it as a safe haven. Their presence as well as absence of road communication has made it near impossible for the administration to carry out minimal development projects in this area, popularly referred to as the ‘cut-off area’.
However, there are still doubts over the successful completion of the bridge construction work in the next two years despite the security cover provided by the Central forces.