The 120-year-old single bridge which was being used for both rail and road traffic in Giddarpindi was finally separated with Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal inaugurating a separate bridge for road traffic on Sunday.
The single bridge,one of its kind built in Punjab under British rule in 1894,was the only way through which the people of the region could commute. While it remained closed for road traffic from evening till 8 in the morning,it was opened during the day for five to six hours to allow trains to pass. The bridge is the main link between Jalandhar and Ferozepur,but in the absence of any separate road bridge,locals who had to commute from Jalandhar to Ferozepur during the night,had to drive an extra 50 km or wait for the bridge to open the next day.
Recently,a separate road bridge was built. However,locals say that though the bridge was ready for use three weeks ago,they could use it as the chief minister was not available to inaugurate it. It was not open for public. When we tried to use it,we were stopped and told that it will be opened only when the chief minister opens it, said Sarpanch Ranjodh Singh of Wara village.
When asked,sources in the Jalandhar district administration claimed that though the chief minister was supposed to inaugurate the bridge two weeks ago,but as he was unavailable,it could not be opened for public use.
Finally,the bridge was informally inaugurated by Badal on Thursday while he was in Jalandhar.
The foundation for the separate 721-m-long road bridge was laid in February 2009 and the initial deadline for the Rs 41-crore project was June 2010. Despite repeated attempts,SAD minister Ajit Singh Kohar who represents the constituency could not be contacted.
Boulders and drums were put on both the side of the bridge to stop commuters from using it, said Sarpanch Baljeet Singh of Giidarpindi village.