Monday, November 3, 2014

BRO to span 9 Mile with long bridge

Project Swastik, the Border Roads Organisation agency responsible for the national highway and other strategically important roads of the State, has submitted a detailed report with the High Court of Sikkim on its proposal to span the 9 Mile troublespot [on NH 10 here near Ranipool] with a “Long Span Bridge” to be commissioned under the SARDP-NE project. The 9th Mile sinking zone has remained an unresolved nuisance on the highway, and forms part of the public interest litigation currently being heard by the High Court on the condition of roads in Sikkim.
The long span bridge option is a new proposal for this spot for which a two-kilomtre diversion was being considered earlier.
Director [Works], Project Swastik, VK Singh, has now come up with a new proposal of constructing a long span bridge across the sinking zone for which the Ministry of Defense and Road Surface will examine the DPR and accordingly approve.
The response from Project Swastik came about after the High Court pulled up the DG, BRO and Project Swastik for their continuing delay in implementing a more durable solution for the 9th Mile troublespot.
“It has also been indicated that there would be requirement of hydro mapping the area and also a detailed study for exploring the presence of hard strata below the flowing earth (sinking),” the Court has observed and directed that this process be completed within four weeks.
Senior Counsel Karma Thinlay appearing on behalf of the respondents [Project Swastik and DG, BRO] submitted that the aforesaid studies are required to be conducted by an expert agency for which necessary permission would be required.
The officers of Project Swastik have initiated the process seeking approval in principle for engagement of an expert agency to expedite the above studies, Mr. Thinlay submitted, adding that concurrence of the central body is still awaited [hence the 4 week time].
Tashi R. Barphungpa, Amicus Curiae on the PIL, objected on the submission made by the Standing Counsel of Central Government for granting four weeks time to get concurrence. He also requested the High Court to consider the urgency of the matter and direct quicker concurrence.
The Division Bench, after considering pleadings of both the counsels and the facts and circumstances of the case, granted four weeks time to resolve the issue.
The court has also observed that “…we hope and trust that the Central Body would take up the matter urgently and would resolve it at an early date.”

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