It has been a long wait for 79-year-old Joga Singh of Saholi village near Kurali for a bridge on the seasonal rivulet of Siswan, which flows near his village. Seventy-two years after Independence, the Public Works Department (PWD) will build a bridge on the rivulet, providing much-awaited relief to hundreds of residents of a dozen-odd villages.
“It is a long pending issue of our village, we made several efforts to get it built in the past but the authorities turned a deaf ear. I used to cross this rivulet by wading through the water in the summers, but it was impossible to cross it during the rains when the water would surge,” recounts Joga Singh. Punjab Public Works minister Vijay Inder Singla will lay the foundation stone of the bridge on February 12.
The rivulet added many miles to their commute to neighbouring villages. Giving an example, Joga Singh says for going to the Naglia village, which is 3 km away, during the monsoon, they would first have to make their way to Kurali, around 5 km away, and then to Naglia village by covering another 4. 5 km.
“Now people will no longer need to go to Kurali,” he exulted.
Another resident of Saholi village, Nirmal Singh, said children would face many problems while going to their schools during heavy rains. “It would also make it difficult for us to take patients to hospital… The bridge will be a lifeline for us,” he added.
Sohali village’s sarpanch Gurpal Kaur said they have been demanding the construction of a bridge on Siswan rivulet for over 70 years but no government had done it. The 0.5 km-long bridge will be built on Siswan rivulet, which orignates from the Shivalik foothills, at a cost of around Rs 5 crore. The bridge will connect around a dozen villages, including Sohali, Naglian, Khijrabaad, Majri, Majra, Teur and Kadimajra villages with Kharar and Kurali towns. The bridge shall act as a shortcut for the residents of these villages to reach Kurali and Kharar towns.
Kharar MLA Kanwar Sandhu said they welcome the decision, which will cut the commute for hundreds of residents. He added that now the construction work should be completed soon.