Two months' delay for pontoon bridge, forces MP, UP residents to wade through the crocodile-infested Chambal River

Agra: A tractor coming from Amba tehsil area of Madhya Pradesh sunk into Chambal River bed on Thursday, after its driver attempted to cross it due to the absence of a pontoon bridge, which connects Uttar Pradesh with MP. The driver was rescued by local residents from the crocodile-infested river.
The incident took place near Quori Ghat of Pinhat police jurisdiction of Agra district. According to local residents, the construction of the pontoon bridge on Usaith Ghat, Pinhat, has been delayed by two months this year by Public Works Department. Every year the bridge is setup on a 250-meter-wide river for nine months – from October 15 to June 15.

Speaking to TOI, Arun Kumar, sub divisional magistrate of Bah, said, “Several reminders were sent to the PWD to ensure timely installation of the pontoon bridge for the transport connectivity between the two states, but for some reason they have failed.”

“The PWD is supposed to take NOC from forest department of Chambal before installing the pontoon, but this year they are late again,” he added.

Anand Srivastava, the district forest officer of Chambal said, “We have provided the clearance to PWD, but they had applied late and also haven’t paid the full tax due which they need to submit. The amount deposited by the PWD is used in giving wages to employees of forest department who maintain and construct the bridge.”

Meanwhile, several attempts were made to contact PWD executive engineer A K Jain, but he did not respond to TOI.

Meanwhile, junior engineer of PWD in-charge of pontoon bridge, Vijay Verma, claimed that construction work of the pontoon bridge has already been started and work will be finished in 10 days.

Last month on November 28, a tractor ferrying six passengers submerged in Chambal River while crossing it, but fortunately no human casualty was reported. Nearly 25,000 residents of MP and UP travel across the river. During monsoon, a steamer is used as a mode of transport, while in winters and summers a pontoon is used.

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