Surat's heritage bridge is being dismantled

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Surat, Jun 12 (UNI) Surat's first bridge, built under private-public partnership in 1877, is being dismantled by the Surat Municipal Corporation as the state administration has granted permission to dismantle the ''Hop-Pool bridge'' under technical conditions.

With this, the most important aspect of Surat's history will go to pages forever.

Municipal Commissioner S Aparna said the bridge was over a century old and so we decided to settle the bridge as it was unfit for daily traffic movement. ''The British Company, which constructed the bridge wrote a letter to the state ainistration few months back to dismantle the overpass, as it was unsuitable for traffic use,'' she said.

The state administration would earn Rs 4 crore after selling the scrap of the bridge, which was just built at Rs 8.13 lakh.

Surat City Congress President Sunil Bhukanwala said there is no harm in dismantling the bridge, but SMC should receive its proportion of revenue from the state government.

However, senior citizens of the city said Hop-pool is a national heritage and if it is developed as a walking place, it can surely save the historical values stored within it and coming generations will learn about the history and its twistful facts.

The overpass, which connected Chowkbazar to Rander, was built by the then Surat Collector T C Hope. The work was initiated in 1874 and completed in three years at cost of Rs 8.13 lakh.

The bridge is 1700 ft long and 16 ft wide. It was constructed with the fund raised from local people and other sources.

Around Rs 3.5 lakh was donated by the citizens, while the British government and then Surat Sudhrai donated Rs 2.27 lakh and Rs 1.57 lakh respectively.

Besides, Rander Sudhrai and Bharuch Local Fund also contributed Rs 20,000 and Rs 60,000 respectively, for the said project.

The bridge helped in developing trade between Bharuch and South Gujarat. It was constructed from Lead, Copper, Steel and Iron Ore and used as Jetty for the ships that use to come to Surat for trading and the Jetty was named as ''Choryasi Jetty'' by the British.

The Surat Municipal Corporation sought permission form the state government to dismantle the bridge, which was granted on Monday. The civic officials said the bridge was of no use for traffic commuting and so the decision was taken. The Civic body has even closed the bridge from January 16, 2004 for the commuters.

UNI XR/PVN GR ATI RAI1601

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