Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Bridge opens after 55 yrs

Driving along India's eastern National Highway 31 got easier last week when a bridge was opened across the Torsha river near the Ghoksadanga-Pundibari area. There were celebrations at its inauguration in the state of West Bengal. But not many people were aware that it had taken 55 years for the 454-metre long bridge project to be realised.

The delay has been blamed on red tape, litigation and natural disasters.

A junior engineer, Kripasindhu Rakshit, made the first survey of the area for the bridge in 1953. "The survey for the bridge over Torsha and the approach road was my first assignment as a junior engineer in the Development (Roads) Directorate - after the year I joined service in 1952," Mr Rakshit recently wrote.

Apparently nothing more happened until the 1980s when "the central government asked us to go for another set of survey, soil testing, design and give a cost estimate".

To his surprise he discovered that another team had prepared a fresh design and estimate for the bridge about 10 years back.

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