WITH ITS reconstruction still hanging fire three years after it was closed to traffic, residents and representatives from various NGOs of Ludhiana held a unique protest Sunday by observing a ‘condolence meeting’ for the century-old Jagraon bridge.
One side of the bridge has been closed to traffic since July 14, 2016, when it was declared unsafe. This has led to massive traffic congestion near the railway station and adjoining areas. The protest was held against the Railways and the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation for failing to complete the renovation. Posters at the site stated that the 127-year old bridge ‘passed away’ three years ago and the government has failed to bring it to life.
“Khulla Sadda-Jagraon railway overbridge di teeji barsi bade dukhi hriday naal manayi jaa rahi hai…(Open invitation to the third death anniversary of Jagraon bridge is being observed with a heavy heart),” said posters put up by residents at the site.
Rahul Verma from NGO Sambhav Foundation said this meeting was an attempt to wake up the administration and government and remind them of their “utter failure” and inconvenience being caused to commuters.
SAD leaders including Tanvir Singh Dhaliwal and Gurdeep Gosha also attended the protest and blamed the Congress government for their failure to complete the work in time.
City Mayor Balkar Singh of Congress reached the site to pacify protesters and said the municipal corporation has already released Rs 26.30 crore as funds for reconstruction and that it was the railways that is delaying it.
RC Garg, deputy chief engineer, Railways, said the target is to complete construction of the bridge and open it to traffic within the next three months. “Foundation-laying is complete and so are two pillars. Some redesigning was required, which has been sent for approval and fabrication is ongoing. There is no issue of funds, which are being given by MC,” he added.