Patna: The ministry of road transport and highways (MoRTH) has extended the last date to file the bids for the long-awaited four-lane bridge parallel to Vikramshila Setu in Bhagalpur. Now, interested firms or their conglomerate can submit their bids to build the bridge over river Ganga till February 6. Earlier, the last date for filing the bid was January 27.
A senior officer of the MoRTH said that the date has been extended due to technical reasons. Accordingly, the technical bids would be opened on February 7 against the previously scheduled date of January 30. The latest tender to rope in reputed firm for construction of 29-metre wide and 4.455km long bridge was published on December 13. The deadline to complete the project has been fixed for 1,460 days.
Tender floated 4th time
The MoRTH has published the tender to appoint the construction company for the project three times in the past, but it remained incomplete for one reason or the other. The first tender was floated in October 2020 but it had to be cancelled in December 2020 after no agency evinced any interest. Larsen and Toubro (L&T) bagged the order when the MoRTH published the tender of the same project in February 21. The tender had to be scrapped once again after L&T refused to carry on with the project with modified construction design without any extra cost.
The MoRTH floated the tender once again in July 2022 and the SP Singla emerged as the lowest bidder for the project. However, that tender had to be annulled in December last year after the construction company and the MoRTH failed to arrive on consensus on certain technical aspects of the project.
Bridge parallel to Vikramshila Setu was sanctioned in 2016
The bridge parallel to the two-lane Vikramshila Setu, which was built and operationalised in 2001, was felt since long owing to increased load of traffic on the existing bridge connecting to Bhagalpur with another important town of Naugachiya. Vikramshila Setu connects the national highways (NH) 31 and 33. Bihar’s road construction department had submitted the detailed project report in 2018, which was cleared by the expenditure finance committee of the MoRTH in July 2020.
PM Modi laid foundation stone
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had laid the foundation stone for construction of the bridge through video conferencing from New Delhi on September 21, 2021. He was supposed to come, but the programme was later modified in view of prevalence of Covid pandemic and other reasons. The bridge is part of the PM’s package to Bihar, which was announced in 2014 and approved by the Central government in 2015. The Central government had provisionally allocated ₹2,000 crore for the project, which was later curtailed to ₹1,110-crore.