The Congress on Wednesday accused the Central Government of deliberately delaying construction of the cable-stayed bridge on Narmada river in Bharuch, proposed by erstwhile UPA dispensation, for taking political credit. Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday unveiled a plaque to dedicate to nation the cable-stayed (extradosed) bridge which is the longest (1.3 km) in country.
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The bridge is expected to ease traffic on the Ahmedabad-Mumbai National Highway. Rebutting the Congress’ claim, the BJP said the demand for the bridge was in fact raised time and again by Modi when he was chief minister of Gujarat. The state unit Congress president Bharatsinh Solanki said then UPA government had awarded the contract for construction of the bridge to L&T in December 2013. “The foundation stone for the bridge was laid by then Union Minister CP Joshi and former state revenue minister Anandiben Patel on May 1, 2012,” he claimed.
Solanki said former Bharuch MP Ahmed Patel had appealed to then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to construct the bridge. “(As) the company which was supposed to construct the bridge did not do it on BOT basis, the UPA govt declared it as a project of national importance and on February 25, 2014, allowed its construction on EPC (engineering, procurement and construction) basis. It had allotted Rs 8.3 crore on March 6, 2014,” the Congress leader said.
He alleged the Narendra Modi government delayed the construction of the bridge by six months to derive a political mileage out of the project, causing hardship to public. Solanki said he appealed to Union minister Nitin Gadkari “to reveal the truth.” Gadkari had said the bridge was constructed in record 34 months with expenditure of Rs 380 crore after the NDA government issued a fresh tender in 2014. The minister had said the previous UPA government had approved the project in 2012 at the cost of Rs 475 crore.
BJP spokesperson Bharat Pandya said, “During its ten-year rule, the erstwhile UPA government draw the bridge only on paper whereas the NDA constructed it in the last 2.5 years.”