Special Correspondent

Hyderabad: The jinx is finally broken. The parallel Muslim Jung Bridge is now a reality. After inaugurating it on Thursday, Chief Minister Y.S. Rajashekhar Reddy walked a few steps and drove down the Rs. 11crore bridge with his convoy in tow.

The new bridge provides a link across the river Musi from City College to Begum Bazar and relieves traffic congestion. In the making for the last 12 years, the parallel overpass has seen lot of money flowing down the Musi – literally. Way back in 1996 it was proposed as a parallel bridge to the aging Muslim Jung pul, the second oldest bridge in the city after Puranapul. But by a strange quirk of fate it was plagued with problems right from its inception. For most of the past few years it was virtually in a limbo after the contract with the National Building Construction Corporation was cancelled. More delays and revision of plans followed. The project cost shot up from Rs. 3 crore to Rs. 7.01 crore and finally to Rs. 11 crore. The width of the carriageway increased from 18 metres to 25 metres. The agencies handling the project also changed from NBCC to M/s Narsimha Rao & Co to M/s Repcon Consultancy Services.

Finally, when the bridge got ready in 2007, authorities detected cracks first in the cantilever portion and then in the piers. The basic design itself was found to be faulty. The shocked civic body launched operation restoration and the bridge was strengthened – not before the authorities pumped in Rs. 3.5 crore additionally. Earlier, the Chief Minister inaugurated two rubber dams opposite the Salar Jung Museum and High Court.