Work on Sambalpur bridge yet to begin

Eight months since the tender for the construction of a bridge over the Mahanadi to connect River Island, Kud Gunderpur in Dhankauda block of Sambalpur district was finalized, work on the project is yet to start. Frustrated with the delay, locals of Kud Gunderpur gram panchayat are now planning to launch an agitation. The reason for the delay is that the Public Works Department (PWD), which is supposed to execute the work, is still to enter into an agreement with the construction firm, shortlisted to carry out the work.

A Chhattisgarh-based construction firm had been shortlisted to build the 450-metre bridge, which when complete will connect Kud Gunderpur, located 35 km from here and a patch of land on the Mahanadi, with village Tulundi.

One has to take a boat to reach Kud Gunderpur gram panchayat, which comprises six villages – Kud Gunderpur, Kud Tabda, Kud Jampali, Kud Amlipali, Kud Mahada and Kud Patakhai.

“We do not have any option but to resort to agitation now,” president of Kud Gunderpur Sangram Samiti, Soumitri Padhee, said.

When contacted, the sub-divisional officer (SDO) of PWD, Bankim Panda said: “The estimated budget for the bridge’s construction is Rs 32 crore. The National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) has agreed to provide the fund. We have already sent the estimate to NABARD for approval. We will enter into an agreement with the shortlisted construction firm as soon as NABARD releases funds.”

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