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Gadkari to lay foundation stone for 2.16-km bridge over Sharavati river

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The foundation stone for the construction of the bridge to connect Kalasavalli and Ambaragodlu villages will be laid by Nitin Gadkari, Union Minister for Surface Transport, here on February 19.

The 2.16-km long bridge across the Sharavati backwaters will offer easy access to the mainland for people of Karur and Barangi hoblis, which have been reduced to islands after the reservoir was constructed for the Sharavati Hydro-Power Project.

BJP State president B.S. Yeddyurappa said in a statement that the Union government has sanctioned ₹600 crore for the construction of the bridge. Besides this, the Centre has provided ₹500 crore for widening of the road connecting NH 206 in Sagar city with Baindur-Ranibennur NH.

Ever since the commissioning of the Sharavati Hydro-Power Project, nearly 20,000 families in the hoblis have been relying on just three ferries provided by the Department of Port and Inland Water Transport to reach the mainland. Over the years, with the rise in popularity of Sigandur, the pilgrim centre in the Sharavati backwater region, the ferries are often overcrowded.

The government in 2008-09 had okayed construction of the bridge at a cost of ₹164.59 crore, and the Karnataka State Road Development Corporation was tasked with the work. It is said that, the project was put in the back-burner later as officials of the Department of Finance said it was economically not viable.

Santhosh, a farmer from Karur told The Hindu that many families in Karur and Barangi hoblis, who had ceded their land for the project, haven’t got proper rehabilitation.

With polls around the corner, the Congress has tried to woo the families by conferring ownership rights over the land where they were rehabilitated. The foundation stone laying ceremony for the bridge planned by the BJP is seen by some as a bid by the party to win over the voters in Sharavati river backwater region.

Source: The Hindu

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