The ambitious Ganga expressway project, branded as the harbinger of future development of the capital city, is in for structural corrections, yet again.
A team of experts from IIT Roorkee, has been called to suggest structural modifications to the Rs 3,160-crore project, in the light of government’s plans to ensure flowback of the river Ganga to its original course along the capital city.
The drive to bring Ganga back to its southern-end was initiated by the state water resources department in collaboration with the inland waterways authority of India (IWAI) after the Patna high court directed the government to take steps to restore the original course of the river, earlier in March this year.
The project had undergone first technical modification after the government’s bid to execute it on PPP mode failed to elicit response from investors. The project had to be shelved after no construction firm agreed to build it on the design and conditions laid down by the department.
Principal secretary of the road construction department Arun Kumar Singh, who is also managing director of Bihar state road development corporation (BSRDC), said IIT experts had been engaged to plan structural changes in the expressway so that it won’t affect the efforts to bring Ganga back to its original course, hugging the northern limits of Patna.
An artiste’s impression of the Ganga expressway project.
Vijay Shanker, the general manager of BSRDC, which is building the expressway, said the advance team of experts from Roorkee had visited the expressway site and collected necessary data for both the projects. “They will come again in the coming weeks to examine how both projects-Expressway and the flow of Ganga along Patna bank-go could together be executed,” he added.
Acknowledging the need for minor modifications to the expressway design, executive engineer of state water resources department Lakshman Jha, who is supervising channel creation work, said a bridge like structure might be required for the expressway to let water of Ganga flow into the channel being excavated near Digha.
In conformity with the high court’s order, about 30-feet wide and seven kilometre long channel is being laid between Digha and Kalighat ( BN College) to ensure flow of a stream of the river through it.
The mainstream of the river has shifted some three kilometre north of the Patna bank allegedly due to illegal sand-mining and expansion of brick-kilns in Danapur area. “The channel intersects the embankment made for Ganga expressway about 1-km east from its origin in Digha,” said Jha.
An engineer of the AWAI, however, apprehended that the expressway might have to undergo yet another structural change once the Central government launches its much-talked about Namami Gange mission.