The 3-km bridge is the second longest cross-drainage structure in the country
Work on Rs. 60-crore structure began in October 2000 and was completed in April 2006Congress and BJP differed on the venue of the inaugural function
BIJAPUR: Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy inaugurated the Korthi-Kolhar bridge on the National Highway 218 connecting Bijapur and Hubli at a low-profile function held at Korthi village on the right bank of the Krishna in Bilagi taluk of Bagalkot district on Tuesday night.
Well behind schedule
The inauguration was scheduled at 4 p.m. but Mr. Kumaraswamy reached the spot only by 11 p.m. In a brief halt on his way to Gulbarga via Bijapur, he unveiled the inaugural plaque.
Though Minister for Food and Civil Supplies Govind Karjol, who is also the Minister in charge of of Bagalkot district, local (Bilagi) MLA Murgesh Nirani and a few other public representatives were present, Water Resources Minister K.S. Eshwarappa left for Mangalore after waiting for two hours.
The 3-km bridge is said to be the second longest cross-drainage structure in the country next to the 5.45-km Mahatma Gandhi bridge across the Ganga between Patna and Hajipur.
The work on the Rs. 60-crore project began at the end of October 2000, and it was to be completed in November 2003. However, financial and technical hurdles delayed the bridge that was finally completed in April 2006.
Controversy erupted over the venue of inaugural function. Congress MLA from Basavanabagewadi, Shivanand Patil, wanted to hold the function at Kolhar on the left bank that comes under his segment. However, BJP leaders wanted the function to be held on the right bank of the river that falls in Bilagi segment represented by BJP MLA Nirani.
Postponed many times
The function was postponed at least five times in the last three months, and vehicles including government buses have been plying on the bridge for the last three months. With Tuesday's function, the controversy was finally laid to rest.
Mr. Kumaraswamy, who stayed overnight in the Government High School building at Uttur village in Mudhol taluk, said he was doing so to understand the difficulties of those living in rural areas. He visited flood-hit villages such as Aasangi, Aski, Halangali, Tamadoddi, Chinal and a few other villages along the Krishna and the Ghataprabha in Bagalkot district.
Mr. Kumaraswamy held a series of meetings with officials and public representatives at Mudhol, Mahalingpur, Banahatti, Terdal and Jamkhandi.
Talking to presspersons, he said the Government has released Rs. 23 crore for acquiring land for building new colonies to rehabilitate people from villages prone to frequent flooding. Besides, Rs. 3 crore had been released to Bagalkot district to take up temporary relief measures, he said.