CANACONA: After abandoning the 14.60-metre long Two-Boxes Culvert Bridge incomplete for nearly two years, PWD seems to have finally woken up for its deep slumber and reportedly got three different contractors to complete the pending works on the newly re-constructed infamous Agonda’s Borim Bridge in Agonda village of Canacona.
Starting Saturday, a JCB was pressed into service to excavate river banks to construct the Wing-Walls to the incomplete culvert bridge for which the construction of approach roads and the erection of Railings are the other two remaining major works on this bridge virtually abandoned by PWD almost two years ago.
It may be noted that when the Bridge Contractor completed the works of construction of 2-boxes Culvert bridge of 14.60 mtre (from the originally planned at 12- mtr), has partly erected only two wing-walls out of the required 4- wingwalls on one side (each of 6 and 3 metres length, respectively) and the Contractor moved away his machinery without constructing the approach roads (on either sides) and without erecting any railings, following the exhaustion of sanctioned funds of 62.6 Lakhs of rupees by June – end last year. Then the contractor blamed PWD stating, the bridge entire project is ill-designed and the PWD failed to act on time to obtains sanctions on the shortcomings, which led to the incomplete works of the bridge. ‘PWD has been informed to obtain sanction for the additional costs required to be complete the bridge, a source from the contractor had said then.
The contractor stopped the works without even making provisions for the pedestrians to cross over the bridge even though link between the two areas (Parvem and Dhavalkhazan) is considered as very important. This 14.60 mtr Culvert Box bridge is constructed in the place of erstwhile Borim-Bridge where the river bank-to-bank width is about 35 meters long.
When the residents raised hue and cry over none provisions for pedestrian to cross-over, mud was dumped on either sides of the bridge to enable pedestrians to walk-over the bridge. However, soon, people began to take their vehicles of all sizes dangerously over the said pucca approach roads to cross over the bridge. This practice has been going-on risking the very safety of vehicles and the human life and it continues with the unsuspecting tourists often driving dangerously over the treacherous mud-dumps across the either side of the bridge.
While congress local leaders made an issue over the dangerous precedents, and after locals raised the issue at a gramsabha also attended by Speaker and Canacona MLA Ramesh Tawadkar, the later assured locals to complete the bridge immediately. As the matter delayed further, AAP leaders, and atleast twice by RG party members raised the issue of the incomplete Dhavalkhazan bridge, previously known as Borim bridge (the erstwhile Borim bailey bridge) for the previous one-side bending pedestrian bridge for its fragile standing.
The foundation stone for this bridge was laid by Chief Minister Dr. Pramod Sawant in the presence of than Dy. Speaker and Canacona MLA Isidore Fernandes in September’2021, after the old Portuguese era footbridge dangerously used by motorists was dismantled and the works began at snails pace.
According to the contractor Dhillon Dessai under whose supervision the JCB machine carried out the excavation, the works to erect the four wing walls on either sides of the bridge is bagged by him.
A source from Agonda panchayat informed that the contract to construct the approach road is bagged by another contractor, while the same sources in the panchayat are unaware of the third contractor PWD is relying on to erect the Railings on this Culvert bridge.
Incidentally, this bridge comes under the jurisdiction of two panch members, on one-side the ward panch and Agonda VP Sarpanch Preettal Fernandes and Nilesh Pagi, both eagerly trying to make the dream of having a completed bridge, since this bridge not only connect the village on its northern side, but the link is considered as very important in view of tourism activities in this coastal village.