Congress team examines Gurupriya bridge

Chitrakonda: Just days after allegations about the faulty design of the newly inaugurated Gurupriya bridge started to make rounds, a team of Odisha Congress led by the OPCC chief Niranjan Patnaik today took stock of the bridge.

After reviewing the situation, the team alleged the state government’s negligent attitude and corruption has resulted in the defect of the bridge design.

“The bridge has been built at low height thereby forcing authorities of Balimela reservoir to release water from the dam earlier than usual and keep it at low level,” OPCC chief Niranjan Patnaik said.

“Besides, the State government has spent an excess of Rs 74 crore on the bridge. This is a proof of the blatant corruption. The bridge’s height should be more but the State government has intentionally changed the bridge design which has caused loss to the State Exchequer,” said Patnaik.

Refusing the charges, BJD spokesperson Sasmit Patra has however said the bridge is an epitome of development work in Maoist affected areas.

“The Centre-approved testing laboratory has given the certificate about the high quality of the bridge. It’s unfortunate Congress is levelling such mean allegations and we condemn the statement,” Patra added.

It is to be noted that, the maximum level of water storage capacity of Balimela Dam stands at 1518 ft. Every year, water is released at 1517 ft, but the authorities, after the inauguration of Gurupriya bridge, released excess water through two sluice gates of the dam when water level stood only at 1512 ft.

Even then, this level touched the guarder of the bridge and a slight increase in water level for 4-5 ft might, it is apprehended, even cross the guarder level posing threat to the bridge.