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Foot Bridge Over Jalangi Collapsed, Villages Cut Off

2016-07-22 20:34

Dismantled bamboo of the foot bridge stacked on the embanment


Tehatta, July 22: A foot bridge over river Jalangi in Tehatta that was washed off in monsoon rain three days ago has made around five thousand people of Tehatta – II block cut off from the sub divisional head quarteras.

The villagers now left to depend on just two boats to enter the town for work or study which are grossly insufficient. The only other option is to take a 40km detour to reach the town that has been causing them immense inconveniences. The sudden washed off of the foot bridge has revived the demand for a concrete bridge that eludes people here even after 69 years of independence.

On Tuesday (July 19) night the bamboo made 300-meter long foot bridge swept away after water level increased in the river creating enormous problem for people living either side of the embankment.

On Wednesday morning finding the footbridge missing, people rushed towards the boats to cross the river. But, as only two boats those were available failed to contain the rush, people burst in anger demanding pucca bridge. Situation turned tensed after one of the boats capsized due to overcrowding. However, passengers were lucky enough to be rescued fast as the accident occurred near the ghat.

The police controlled the situation, but since the day only two overcrowded boats ferrying passengers with risk risking their lives.

Additional SP of Nadia (Rural) Tanmay Sarkar instructed boat operators to put more boats to service ensuring security, but he too acknowledged the need of a bridge.

“We have told the boat operators to arrange for more boats and not to ferry passengers beyond capacity. We have also told them to keep life savings instruments. But, in absence of a bridge it has become a permanent problem to police also”, the ASP said.

If the much demanded bridge were constructed over the 300-meter span of Jalangi river, the road distance between Tehatta town and places under Tehatta-II block located on the other side of the river would have been reduced by at least 40 km.

Tapas Bhattacharyee, a local resident in Hanspukuria of Tehatta-II block said: “If a bridge was there, reaching Tehatta town from Hanspukuria over the bridge could be a matter of five minutes. It would immensely benefit around five lakh people living in Hanspukuria, Barnia, Sahebnagar, Palsunda-I & II panchayet under Tehatta-II block to reach Tehatta town”.

“But absence of a pucca bridge has cut of the Tehatta town–with Tehatta – II block making a major problem to common people, students, traders and even to the police”, he added.

Partha Mandal, a student of second year BA student of Betai college who stays under Tehatta-II block said: “All important offices like SDO office, hospital, banks, schools, colleges, police stations and business establishments are located in Tehatta town. Around five thousand people regularly cross the river by any mean to reach Tehatta town to visit these places for official purpose. At least 500 students daily cross the Jalangi either by boat or over the foot bridge. During monsoon boat service become irregular, particularly during night. In normal day, it suspends after 10 PM. So for emergent situation, like taking patients to hospital become impossible as ambulance could not be ferried due to absence of ferrying vessel. As a result, one has either to come by road via Palashipara to reach Tehatta hospital by making a minimum journey of about 40 km”, he added further.

Police officers posted in Tehatta echoed similar troubles. “In absence of a bridge we have to drive minimum 40 km to reach Hanspukuria, Barnia, Palsunda and other areas via Palashipara, where only we can cross JalangiRiver due to existence of a bridge constructed during 70s. As a result, we often get delayed to reach the crime spot. This real time distance led to increase in cases of theft, snatching in those areas”, said a police officer.

During the 2014 lok sabha poll and in the recently held assembly poll, the bridge became a major poll plank to both ruling Trinamul and opposition.

Trinamul Congress MP Tapas Paul, who made repeated assurance to take up initiative to build a bridge could so far done nothing during his two successive terms. Paul said: “There are some problems, but still I hopeful to build the bridge”.

Present Trinamul MLA and Trinamul’s Nadia district president Gourisankar Dutta said: “Absence of a bridge over Jalangi is a major problem in Tehatta. I shall take up the matter with chief minister Mamata Banerjee to satisfy the long pending demand of the people”.

During 2010 the left front government identified land for the bridge near the existing ghat and granted Rupees 80-lakh.

“However, no progress was made possible as land for approach road could not be acquired due to objection raised by some locals in Hanspukururia”, said SDO Tehatta Arnab Chatterjee said.

However, the villagers who raised objection could be found as locals said that they shifted due to erosion of river bank.

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