The villagers in Talaja taluka of Bhavnagar now totally cut off

The woes of the villagers of some 35 villages of Talaja taluka in Bhavnagar district of Gujarat are never ending. First the bridge that connected them with the rest of the world collapsed eight months ago, and now a temporary bypass on the river that the district administration made, too washed away last week.

“Now, either risking our lives, we have to commute over the collapsed bridge, or will have to travel another 22 km to reach the state highway that connects the Taluka headquarters Talaja or Bhavnagar city,” said Rashanba Vala, Datha village head (Sarpanch).

Last year, the bridge over Bagad river collapsed. Eight months have passed since then. Tenders were called for construction of a new bridge, but nothing happened on the ground. After several representations, a temporary bypass was made on the river, which was used by villagers of 35 villages to reach Kalsar Hospital. With the onset of monsoon, if someone fell ill and is in serious condition, it will be difficult to take him to a hospital, when river is flowing at two ends,” a worried sarpanch said.

“It is a seasonal river, so even a few inches of rain in the catchment area brings flood in the river. So temporary bypass will be washed out again, the only option right now is to take long and safe route,” said Sumit Chaudhary, Executive Engineer with the District Panchayat.

R.U. Patel, Executive Engineer with the State’s Roads and Buildings department, said, “Work has been allotted for the construction of a new bridge with an investment of Rs six crore. The work was to commence, but got delayed and now monsoon has set in, said.

Villagers will have to wait for at least sixteen months for a new bridge, said the officer and added, construction work can only start if rain takes long break. Once the work starts, construction will be completed in 11 months. For four months, villagers have to suffer.

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