Shillong, March 24: The opposition All India Trinamool Congress (TMC) has demanded immediate ban plying of 6-wheeler trucks and above on the bridge over Umiam dam after the Minister in-charge Power Abu Taher Mondal informed the House that the lifespan of the bridge has expired.
Participating during the question hour, AITC legislator from Nongthymmai Charles Pyngrope questioned how 6-wheeler trucks, which already weighs 19 tons, are allowed to ply over the bridge when the order issued by the transport department had clearly stated that loaded trucks carrying only 20 MT gross weight or less will be allowed to pass one vehicle at a time over the Umiam dam.
“Therefore, 6-wheeler trucks and above should be immediately banned from plying over the bridge,” he suggested.
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Voice of the People Party (VPP) legislator from Nongkrem Ardent Miller Basaiawmoit also questioned how the government will ensure there is 24×7 monitoring of vehicle movement since the police personnel can be bribed and that “bribe has already taken place in many cases”.
In his reply, Mondal informed that the lifespan of the Umiam dam has already expired and said, “That is why we go for retrofitting so that its lifespan can be expanded.”
He said the transport department being the nodal department to check the weight of the vehicles have come up with the notification and both the deputy commissioners of Ri Bhoi and East Khasi Hills have been alerted.
He said that the suggestion given by Nongkrem MLA on whether CCTV can be installed to monitor vehicular movement over the bridge will be examined by the government.
Further, the power minister also informed that studies to assess the condition of the dam and vibration measurement was done by the Central Water and Power Research Station, Pune and also by the IIT, Guwahati and reports had stated there is not much danger and that the vibration is under a controllable limit even as they suggested retrofitting of the bridge so that it can withstand the increased traffic congestion.
On the apprehensions expressed by Basaiawmoit, the power minister said that the government is aware of the problem and has taken the initiative to construct an alternative route.
He however said the DPR was in the process of being made for construction of another road on the upper stream but the Geological Survey report however stated that it will not be feasible as the location is very close to the bridge.
Accordingly, the PWD and the NHAI are trying to get another route to avoid the bridge and the proposal for the new route is being examined.
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