Mahatma Gandhi Setu, a longest bridge built across River Ganga between Hajipur and Patna in Bihar, is in an awful condition due to apathetic attitude of the concerned authorities.
Bihar's Minister of Road Construction and Tourism Nand Kishore Yadav said the bridge falls under the jurisdiction of the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) and Central Public Works Department (CPWD).
Yadav said the State government is waiting for a nod from them to go ahead for the renovation of this historic structure.
"Many attempts have been made to renovate that bridge. But collective attempts have not been made. Bihar government has repeatedly asked the Central Government that collective attempts be made and for that a rehabilitation proposal has been sent to the central authorities," said Yadav.
Mohammed Tariq, a PWD contractor, who has been assigned to renovate parts of the bridge, said the entire bridge is in need of a face-lift as it is very old.
He also mentioned lids used for covering the pot holes were missing due to thefts.
"The problem is that we cover the potholes, slab covers but after 2-4 days the thieves take away these covers at night. Then we have to put these lids again," said Tariq.
Tariq further added one of the chief problems behind the pathetic condition of the bridge is the constant movement of heavy traffic vehicles over it.
According to Arun Kumar Paswan, a daily commuter, there is usually a jam of four to five hours at the bridge owing to vehicular movement on only one lane of the bridge.
"Only one side of the road is operational and it's in very bad shape. The other side, which is not being used, is in even worse condition. So, the traffic moves on only one side of the bridge due to which usually there is a jam of around four to five hours here. Thus we have to face a lot of problem because of this," said Paswan.
Built in 1982, the bridge was inaugurated by the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.
The length of the bridge is 5,575 metres. There are almost 48 piers supporting this gigantic bridge. By Ajay Sharma (ANI)