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Nov 14, 2019-Thursday



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Thursday, Nov 14, 2019

Two years on, Ulhasnagar civic body yet to complete bridge over Waldhuni River

There are around 4,000 residents living Vadolgaon and most of them travel to Ulhasnagar city for work and other purposes.

mumbai Updated: Dec 09, 2018 01:24 IST
Sajana Nambiar
Sajana Nambiar
Hindustan Times
Work in progress on the Vadol bridge in Ulhasnagar  (West).
Work in progress on the Vadol bridge in Ulhasnagar (West).

Vadolgaon villagers are still using a makeshift bridge made of stones and debris to cross the Waldhuni river and get to Ulhasnagar city because the civic body bridge is yet to be completed.

There are 10 days left for the Ulhasnagar Municipal Corporation (UMC) to complete the bridge it promised it would build. But only 90% of the work has been completed.

In August, the Vadol Bridge Nagrik Sangharsh Samiti filed a public interest litigation in the Bombay high court (HC) after the UMC failed to complete and open the bridge to the public. After the HC pulled up the civic body, the latter filed an affidavit saying the bridge would be completed by December 15.

“The civic body did not carry out any work in September due to rain. The work resumed in October but was carried out very slowly,” said Shivaji Ragde, a representative of Vadol Bridge Nagrik Sangharsh Samiti. “Now the civic body claims the work will be completed before the deadline. However, the bridge cannot be opened as the slab has been placed just two days ago and it requires at least a month to settle down. This means again we will have to wait until next year to use the bridge.”

Earlier, a small bridge connecting the village to the city collapsed during heavy rains in 2016. The UMC started work on a new bridge but it faced several roadblocks.

“It is very difficult to cross the river. We are forced to walk on the stones and debris which are dumped on the river. It is dangerous for our kids as they also cross the river to reach their schools in Ulhasnagar,” said Usha Pawar, 48, a resident of Vadolgaon.

Last year, residents built a temporary bridge by placing wooden planks and cement pipes to cross the river but it too was washed away in the pre-monsoon showers this year. It was only after this that residents created the present bridge made of stones and debris.

There are around 4,000 residents living Vadolgaon and most of them travel to Ulhasnagar city for work and other purposes. The only other way to reach their destination is an autorickshaw ride for about three to four kilometres, which few can afford. A bridge across the Waldhuni river would enable them to reach Ulhasnagar in a few minutes.

Two years ago, when UMC started work on the bridge, the project cost was ₹2 crore. With the delay, it has now inflated to ₹4 crore.

Ragde alleged these were corrupt tactics used by the civic body to siphon off a lot of money. “This is the reason why we approached the court. The contractors have been delaying the work without any reason and the civic body did not take any action on them,” added Ragde.

An officer from UMC, requesting anonymity, said, “The work to complete the bridge is under progress. We have directed the contractors to carry out work late at night to meet the deadline. We had warned the contractors about the delay, because of which work has been sped up the past three months. It is near completion now.”