Foundation for constructing a bridge on Kanhar river in Garhwa district has been laid at least 10 times in the last 13 years but the Rs 30 crore project is yet to take off due to hurdles by the forest department in clearing the land for an approach road.
Former minister and Bhawnathpur MLA Bhanu Pratap Shahi first laid the foundation for constructing the bridge in 2009. The bridge, passed by a special division, was aimed at reducing the distances between different cities in Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh.
“I laid the foundation for the bridge in 2009. It had a budget of Rs 8 crore. However, just after that the President’s rule was imposed in Jharkhand. When we came back in 2014, we got it sanctioned again by the PWD in 2018,” Shahi told lagatar24.com.
The foundation for the bridge connecting Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand on Kanhar river was again laid by then Chief Minister Raghubar Das on 26 November 2018 during Banshidhar Mahotsav. However, the construction work failed to start.
Raghubar Das had provisioned Rs 30 crore for the construction of the large bridge and an approach road. The bridge at Balchawra village in Garhwa district is aimed at cutting down distance between Garhwa in Jharkhand and Ambikapur in Chhattisgarh.
Several more attempts failed to get the work started. MLA Shahi again did bhoomipujan (earth worship) to start the construction work on 24 May 2019. But after four months the work again halted due to lack of ‘no objection certificate’ from the forest department.
“Some local politicians raised the matter of forestland and we had to apply for clearance from the forest department. We have got the clearance for the first stage. However, we are waiting for the second stage clearance and then it can be completed,” Shahi said.
Shahi informed that the work on the bridge can be started while the second stage approval is awaited. The forest department has to give its clearance for constructing a six-kilometre road in forestland that will connect with the proposed bridge, the legislator added.
The bridge, once constructed, would cut the distance between Ambikapur, headquarters of Sarguja district in Chhattisgarh, and Garhwa in Jharkhand by 70 kms.