Udupi, Feb 16, 2017: Udupi District In-charge minister Pramod Madhwaraj said that the construction of Padukere bridge would be completed soon and the inauguration would take place on March 11.
The minister elaborated over the project while speaking to reporters after making a spot visit to the construction site. He added the previous government had approved the project, but all other basic needs required for the proposed project were fulfilled by the present Congress government.
"The state government has appointed the project monitoring committee (PMC) and also approved the design of the plan, the changes and most importantly the release of finance," said the minister, adding that the first phase of the amount was released only after he took charge and was the fund was released in October, 2013.
"The total amount spent on the bridge without the approach road is Rs 16.5 crore. Earlier, the width of the bridge was 4.25 metre, which was found to be insufficient. Later, it was increased to 5.25 metre. Apart from that, Rs 50 lakh and 60 lakh is spent on approach roads connecting Padukere and Malpe respectively.
"The work will begin shortly. The concrete work will get over by February 25 while the curing and painting works will take another 10 days. Another Rs 3-crore escalation of cost is expected but there is sufficient fund. The Cabinet approval is required and the work would be taken up immediately," he explained.
"The newly built bridge would be brought under the supervision of the Malpe Development Committee to exploit the tourism potentials available at Padukere beach, which is a virgin beach. The committee would plan the tourism aspects and take up various promotional projects. The deputy commissioner is instructed to take suitable action with regard to the proposal," said Madhwaraj.
When asked about the toll gate issue, the minister said the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) would have to take the decision. However giving concession for local vehicles is permissible as per the guidelines put forth by NHAI.
The minister said he has spoken to Chief Secretary Subhashchandra Kunti and asked him to call a meeting. The local vehicles and the vehicles plying within five-kilometre radius should be given exemption from toll.
He, however, also challenged the public who claimed the possibility of exempting all vehicles from paying toll to come forward and specifically demarcate the responsibilities of both state and central governments. If it is possible by the state government, the minister promised he would look into the issue.
He said Dakshina Kannada MP Nalin Kumar Kateel should initiate action to close the Surathkal toll gate within 24 hours, as there is no requirement of a toll gate at Surathkal, after the toll gate at Hejamadi has started functioning. A BJP leader is involved in the Surathkal toll collection business and hence the Surathkal toll gate is continuing for another six months, he charged.