LDV villagers protest on bridge ‘closure’

LDV villagers protest on bridge ‘closure’

DAMBUK, Mar 12: Residents representing dozen of villages in Dambuk circle under Lower Dibang Valley district today assembled in protest at Sikang bridge in Bomjir village against the bridge closure notice served to them by the local contractor (in charge of the bridge) for ‘load testing’ purposes.

Reportedly, the protesters were gaon burahs, panchayat leaders and youth representatives.

After a few rounds of fierce negotiation and allegations of corruption and negligence, the private contractors finally relented and agreed to do the load testing, instead of closing the whole bridge for a week.

Since the Sikang bridge opened, the previously operating ferries linking Dambuk and Roing have stopped operating, and the bridge has been the only way to towns like Roing, Tezu and Tinsukia for residents of the Dambuk area, which was once landlocked during the rainy season every year. The bridge has been a blessing to this area of late.

“They issued us a circular saying that the bridge would be closed again for load testing between 12th and 19th March. Last time they issued similar circular and we didn’t object; and the bridge was closed between 14th February and 5th March for load testing, “said a visibly upset Maktel Pertin, head GB, Dambuk.

“Now they want to do it again. How are we going to move around; even the ferries across the Dibang have stopped operating since the bridge opened. The public here is very angry,” he added.

“Yesterday my brother’s whole family got food poisoning and because the bridge was open, we could rush them to hospital at Roing,” said Todol Pertin, ex ASM from Poblung village.

“What would we do if we were cut off? There are no general hospitals in Dambuk. Even at the community health Centre here most of the time doctors and nurses are absent and there are no medicines available. It is as good as nothing,” Pertin added.

“They’ve done this test before. We learned that the testing agencies didn’t complete their job during the appointed time before and left midway last time,” said Tony Borang, Dambuk Bazar Secretary, who alleged negligence and incompetence on the contractor’s part.

Terming the protest as successful, he added they agreed to complete their load testing in phases and sections, instead of closing the bridge and if not for today’s protest, they would have cut their communication access completely.

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