Construction of two bridges on defence drain allowed: Minister

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Chandigarh, Mar 13 (UNI) The Defence Ministry for security reasons has given 'No Objection Certificate' for the construction of only two bridges on the defence drains that run along the Indo-Pakistan border.

However four similar proposals sent by the state government in September last year were rejected by the Defence Ministry, Irrigation Minister Janmeja Singh Sekhon told the state assembly here today.

Replying to a call attention motion tabled by Virsa Singh Valtoha (SAD), the Minister said that the 'No Objection Certificate' had been obtained for bridges at RD 29500 Valtoha drain connecting village Manawa to Assal and at RD 7300 of Nikasu Nallah, connecting village Valtoha to Gajjal.

A proposal of Rs 168 lakh for constructing of these two bridges was under consideration of the state government, he said.

The 'No-Objection Certificate' for the remaining 4 bridges had not been granted due to operational and security reasons, the Minister informed the House.

As per the demand of the farmers of the border area and the recommendations of Mr Valtoha, a proposal for obtaining 'No' Objection Certificate' for 6 bridges on defence drains was sent to the Defence Ministry, he added.

However the proposal for bridges at Wan Tara Singh, Dal, Noonwala and on Mehdipur-Khem Karan link road were rejected by the defence authorities, the Minister told the member who represents Valtoha constituency through which four defence drains pass. The member while moving the motion had pointed that the farmers who have their fields between the defence drain and the international border often have to travel two to four kms away from their villages to go to their fields in the absence of sufficient number of bridges on defence drains in the Khem Karan sector.

The Minister in his reply pointed out that a number of bridges already exist on these defence drains, which connect the border towns, namely Khem Karan, Bhikhiwind, Valtoha, Amar Kot, Khalra and villages namely Mastgarh, Maddar, Rajoke, Bhura Kohna, Ratoke, Dhollan.

Regarding the demand of a bridge at Rajoke village in the Khem Karan sector, Mr Sekhon said that the farmers had demanded a bridge at RD 17000 on Doda drain. However, as there is a bridge at RD 20000 on this drain, which is about 1 km upstream of the the proposed bridge, the demand was not accepted by the government, the minister said while pointing to the existing norms that the minimum distance between two bridges on the defence drain shall be 5000 metres.

UNI HS MMS1720

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