Ace engineer and incumbent secretary with the Odisha works department Nalini Kanta Pradhan has elicited rave reviews for his assiduous efforts in building the critical Gurupriya Bridge.
The rare bout of applause has come pouring in from the Central Road Research Institute (CRRI), a premier centre for excellence. The bridge apart from passing the muster from CRRI has evoked appreciation for being completed in a difficult terrain.
The bridge constructed over the Gurupriya river opens to the public on July 26. Pradhan and his team of dedicated officers have been working tirelessly over the last three years to make this bridge a reality. The erection of one of the longest river bridges is aimed at checkmating the Maoist insurgency in the region. It is expected Maoists will be running for cover after the bridge starts operating.
Officials have attributed the successful laying of the bridge to the unstinted backing of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.
CRRI has congratulated Pradhan and his collective for their painstaking efforts to commission the bridge. Given the rugged terrain and challenging topography, the bridge is nothing short of a modern technical marvel. The institute has awarded its certificate of praise after completing the third party audit work. Pradhan is ostensibly on cloud nine to see his efforts reaching fruition.
The bridge is touted as the lifeline of the cut off but picturesquely striking Chitrakonda area in tribal infested Malkangiri district.
A Seven Member team of Scientists from the Bridge & Structure division of Central Road Research Institute (CRRI) led by the Senior Principal Scientist and Head of Unit from New Delhi made the independent Quality and Safety Audit of the High Level Gurupriya bridge for five days from 30 May 2018.
The CRRI team in their Quality Audit Report has found out that the bridge “FIT” after their rigorous examination through several Non Destructive (NDT) Tests.
The team on the basis of Detailed Inspection, Non Destructive Testing, Core Testing, Review of quality System adopted and Full Load Test Results of the Structure, the bridge was found fit for opening to the traffic, said its Report.
In fact, planning for construction of a bridge over River Gurupriya near Balimela reservoir was initiated in 1986 and later several attempts were taken afterwards for the work.
However, multiple bidding attempts by the state government as well as the Government of India as no bidder came forward to erect the bridge due to the challenging terrain. The area being cut off from the mainstream and the patent threat of Maoists was another deterrent to the bidders.
Initially, the work was awarded to Gammon India, Mumbai in 2006. But, work on the bridge could not progress due to technical constraints and Maoist threat. The Odisha government has also endeavoured to rope in Garden Reach Shipbuilders & Engineers Ltd (GRSE) for the project but to no avail. Later, six bidding attempts were done and the work was finally awarded to Kolkata-based Royal Infraconstru Ltd under an EPC contract.