Union minister Nitin Gadkari and Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar on Friday will inaugurate the long-delayed road bridge over the Ganga connecting Sahebpur Kamal in Begusarai with Munger.
The then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee laid the foundation for the rail-cum-road bridge in 2002, around 168km east of the capital Patna named after first Bihar chief minister Srikrishna Singh. Prime Minister Narendra inaugurated the 3.75 km long railway part of the bridge in March 2016. The road bridge made in the double-deck could not become operational as its approach portions on both sides were not completed in time.
People have been relying on risky boat services to cross the river often along with motorcycles and cycles to cross over to Munger from Sahebour Kamal. The nearest bridges are 55 km downstream and 68 km upstream from the new bridge.
Built at a cost of ₹1,000 crore, the new bridge will be the seventh road bridge on the Ganga connecting the National Highway (NH) 31 in Begusarai with NH 33 in Munger via NH 333 (A). In the absence of it, people were forced to travel to Munger, Lakshisarai, and Jamui from north Bihar via circuitous routes to reach the other side of the river.
Ravi Shankar, a local resident, said people like can now look for jobs in Begusarai or adjacent Khagaria.
Communist Party of India leader Brahma Nand Mandal, who was elected to Lok Sabha from Munger in 1991, demanded in Parliament construction of the bridge in his constituency. He got an assurance from the Union commerce minister Pranab Mukherjee that the bridge will be built after a 14-day fast. “However, the first allocation for the bridge was made through a supplementary grant in the railway budget in 1997-98,” said a retired railway officer.