Two high-tech Aldona bridges face neglect

BY ERWIN FONSECA
Though the Goa State Infrastructure Development Corporation (GSIDC) of late has come to play a big role in construction of vital infrastructure projects that could go a long way in the development of the state, some of its projects have gained a bad name due to either the slow work or halt in work while there are other projects that have been completed but are left to fend for themselves. Two such projects in question are the Poira bridge and the Corjuem bridge in Aldona.

Though Aldona village in Bardez will soon go down in history with three state-of-the-art bridges with work on the new Calvim bridge already started, the Aldona-Corjuem cable-stayed bridge built during the Chief Minister, Mr Manohar Parrikar previous tenure at a cost of around Rs 24 crore and completed within 18 months, faces neglect.

The foundation stone for the Aldona bridge was laid by Mr Parrikar in May 2003 when Mr Shripad Naik the North Goa MP was the then Surface Transport Minister.

The inauguration was done on November 21, 2004 in time for the first IFFI by Mr Parrikar himself and the bridge was also a host to an IFFI party. During those days the bridge was a great attraction among Goans being a unique cable-stayed bridge, the first of its type in Goa. The bridge had very good lights and was an attraction in Aldona but today the cables are left unattended, no painting work is done and the lights are hardly working.

On the other side, a similar state-of-the-art Corjuem-Poira ‘steel opening’ bridge built at a cost of around Rs 5 crore is also lying in a neglected state. Surprisingly while Mr Parrikar managed to complete the around 400 meter Corjuem bridge in 18 months, it took the successive Congress government three and a half years to build a steel opening bridge which is barely 100 meters in length.

Though the foundation stone for the bridge was laid by Mr Parrikar in February 2004, it was inaugurated only in December 2007 by the then chief minister, Mr Digambar Kamat.

This bridge linking Corjuem in Aldona constituency in Bardez taluka to Poira village in Mayem constituency in Bicholim taluka had a unique structure consisting of machines, levers, control rooms etc. The bridge could open and close to facilitate passage of barges through the river. This bridge has been designed and constructed in such a way that it can be opened for heavy boats with the help of cables and machinery that have been installed on either side of the bridge in two rooms. The room located at the Poira end also has a generator, but now both these rooms are completely in a bad state with anti-social and criminal elements making the best out of it.

A former Poira panch member, Mr Krishna Chodancar said that he has petitioned various authorities on the issue but nothing has happened.

"Both these bridges can be termed as unique state-of the-art work, especially, the Corjuem bridge due to the IFFI party had earned a worldwide recognition but today both are left to fend for themselves. Ever since they have been constructed there has been no effort taken to do any maintenance work on them," informed an aggrieved Calvim resident, Mr Melwyn Fernandes.

He felt that the Chief Minister, Mr Parrikar who was instrumental in constructing these bridges should revive them.

On the other hand, GSIDC managing director, Mr Sanjith Rodrigues, when contacted, said that the GSIDC had no role to play with regards to maintenance of these bridges and instead it was the PWD who was responsible for maintaining these bridges. He felt that it was utter neglect on the part of the PWD.

Admitting that the two bridges have remained neglected, the Chief Minister, Mr Parrikar promised to address the issue adding that he has plans to develop this area as a ‘tourism circuit’ by which tourists could admire all the three unique bridges, the already existing Corjuem, Poira bridges and the Calvim bridge that would soon come up and also prove to be a state of the art bridge.

"This spot would be developed for tourists. As the Calvim bridge is coming up, we will also try to bring back the two bridges to their original lost glory," he informed.

The Poira bridge though constructed to open and close which is unique of its kind in Goa is now completely non-functional. The machinery is completely jammed and the bridge is neither opening nor closing, all the machinery and other equipments are corroded and the condition of this bridge is completely horrible [NT]