36 bridges over Gandak canal in dilapidated state

- BHUSAN YADAV, BIRGUNJ

Oct 11, 2014-

Over three dozen bridges built over the Gandak Canal are in a sorry state due to the negligence of the government and locals alike. The bridges built to withstand the load of only light-weight vehicles have been severely damaged due to the regular movement of heavy duty trucks, tippers, and passenger buses carrying load beyond their capacity on them.

According to the technicians, the passenger buses and other heavy vehicles plying on these bridges on a daily basis with complete disregard of the signboards put up at both ends of the bridges were to blame for the sorry condition the bridges are in. “As buses carrying passengers beyond their capacity ply on these bridges frequently, the main pillars of most of these bridges have been badly damaged and the slabs over the bridges have also developed cracks at various places,” said engineer Manoj Patel of Narayani Canal Project. The Narayani Irrigation Management Division Office has been given the responsibility to repair the bridges over the canal. According to former employees of Gandak Canal Project,  back until a decade ago both public and private vehicles needed to obtain a special permit to use the canal route.

This is because even if one bridge built over the canal collapses it could cause major problem to maintain the

constant water flow in the canal built to ensure proper irrigation.

“I am sorry to say but only a major accident will serve as a wake-up call for the locals as they have been indifferent to our repeated requests and warnings about the potential threat,” said one of the

staffers.

Meanwhile, Patel, who also happens to be the spokesperson of the Project, said that the pillars of the bridges over the canal are only 50 centimetres in diameter as they were originally designed just to withstand the movement of light vehicles. As the bridges were designed to allow only one-way traffic, their width is also very small. However, this has still not deterred heavy vehicles from plying on the dilapidated bridges. Furthermore, with the establishment of cement and seed factories in nearby areas over the recent years, heavy duty trucks ply on the bridges with large consignments of raw materials regularly.

Meanwhile, the local administration and director of the department have already been informed about the dilapidated condition of the bridges. Stating that they had not been able to carry out repair work on the bridges, Patel said that it would

cost at least Rs 50 million for the construction of a single bridge.

The canal was built following an agreement between Nepal and India in 1959. The canal derives its water from the Narayani (Gandak) barrage located in Nawalparasi via Janakitola, Parsa.  

Although constructed to supply irrigation water from Parsa to Rautahut, the Office said that waters from the canal reach only half the area.

Published: 12-10-2014 04:14

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