A fact finding mission comprising Magsaysay Award winner Rajender Singh along with a team of activists, engineers and researchers from various parts of the country visited the site of the under construction bridge on river Hindon, which has reportedly changed the course of the river.
The upcoming bridge, connecting Karhera and Rajnagar extension near NH-58, would span one kilometre in length and is a project of the Uttar Pradesh irrigation department, which is funded to the tune of over Rs. 22 crore by the Ghaziabad Development Authority (GDA).
Environmentalists claimed that the concrete structure has altered the natural flow of the river by 200-250 metres and destroyed the local ecosystem.
Senior GDA officials, requesting anonymity, told HT that the bridge was not proposed over the site under GDA’s Master Plan-2021 and was planned over a master plan road, which was at a distant site, connecting to NH-58.
Irrigation department plans another solid structure measuring 300 metres from Karhera side. The two structures would later be joined by an overbridge which would span around 181 metres in length. Officials from the irrigation department told HT that the raised structures would be around 16 metres in height and would enable a construction of 20 feet wide road for better connectivity to NH-58.
“As a result of these two solid structures, the river would only flow within a span of 181 metres, narrowing its natural course which is restricted by several hundred metres altogether due to the project,” Rajender Singh told reporters at the construction site on Tuesday.
“There is no alteration to the natural course of the river. Our design has been made after three years of study. We are also planning to construct a dam which would protect the excess water flow into nearby areas,” said Gyas Alam, executive engineer, irrigation department.
Last month, villagers from Karhera also staged a fortnight-long protest against the bridge.