Saturday, July 13, 2024

B’desh-bound trucks, rains take toll on Umdud bridge


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SHILLONG, July 3: The Umdud bridge, which connects Sohbar and Majai, is on the verge of collapsing, reportedly due to the plying of limestone-carrying overladen trucks to Bangladesh and incessant rainfall.
It is pertinent to note that the limestones have to go through the Land Customs Station at Majai before being exported to the neigbouring country.
The latest videos shared by the residents of Majai show multiple cracks being developed under the bridge in view of the incessant rains. The condition of the bridge is further exacerbated by the trucks, reportedly carrying loads that exceed the limit set by the authorities.
Informing that the pillars are damaged to a significant extent, the residents of Majai have said that the bridge can collapse anytime.
They say they will face great difficulties if the bridge collapses.
It may be mentioned that the Executive Engineer of PWD (Roads), Sohra Division, had recently put up a signboard, clearly mentioning that trucks carrying over 12 tonnes will be barred from plying through the bridge.
Despite the signage, trucks carrying more than 20 tonnes are frequently seen crossing the bridge.
An order issued by the Executive Engineer of PWD (Roads), Sohra Division, displayed at the start of the road leading to Majai, explicitly prohibits multi-axle trucks from using the bridge due to its weakened structure. Additionally, weighbridges are positioned at Lailad, just before the Umdud bridge, to enforce the load limit.
However, the absence of CCTV cameras at these weighbridges raises eyebrows on the effective implementation of the measures.
Further, despite the everyday collection of revenues from the export of limestone, the state government has paid little attention to the appalling road infrastructure in the area.
To reach Majai Land Custom Station falling under Hima Sohra, trucks have to come through two roads — one coming from Tharia area under Elaka Sohbar and another from Lailad under Hima Sohra.
The condition of the two roads, which are under the Public Works Department (PWD), is abysmal.
The road from Sohbar and Nongjri to Majai is connected by the steel arch bridge over Wahrew River. But trucks have to pass through dilapidated roads and two old bridges, especially at Umdud.
The villagers are not only questioning the state government’s ‘inaction’ to safeguard and repair the bridge but are also criticising local MLA Balajied Kupar Synrem for his silence on the issue.
In a plea for urgent intervention, villagers have called upon Deputy Chief Minister Prestone Tynsong, who is in charge of PWD, to ensure the road is repaired promptly and that overloaded trucks are barred from crossing the Umdud bridge.



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