Various stakeholders envisaged the initiative of constructing suspension foot-bridge across Simsang River connecting 17 Village Employment Councils (VECs) to Kusimkolgre Koshi Ghat of Williamnagar in East Garo Hills District. This was decided as per the resolution taken during a meeting held on 15th March, 2011 at Nengmandalgre.
Before the construction of suspension footbridge locals used to commute with the help of boats
The initial proposal was to construct causeway across Simsang River from Nokil Awe locality of Williamnagar to Rongregre Ghat. The plan was dropped by the VECs and it was decided to construct a suspension foot-bridge keeping in view, the history of flash flood and water current during peak monsoon season in the recent past.
The enthusiasm shown by the VECs to contribute their person-days under Mahatma Gandhi NREGA with an average of minimum 20-30 days per household for consecutive three financial years strengthened the resolve to realise this project. This helped the district administration to accelerate the approval of the proposal.
The sanction order was administered to take up this ambitious task in a convergence mode with other development programmes particularly Integrated Basin Development and Livelihood Programme (IBDLP) and Construction of Rural Roads Programme (CRRP). The project was approved and sanctioned during the FY 2011-12.The main challenge for the district administration was to pull in the resources for the project which was costing more than a crore as per the plan and estimate. They were well aware that it could not be completed by Mahatma Gandhi NREGA alone due to high cost required on construction materials. The restriction of 60:40 wage material ratio under Mahatma Gandhi NREGA makes it further difficult to bear the material cost of the project. Therefore, the district administration had to rely on BSC Ltd. – C&C JV Ltd. of Samanda Camp to provide tools and machineries as an additional support for construction of this project. The implementation of these projects involved five VECs comprising of 352 Mahatma Gandhi NREGA Job Card holders. VEC level construction committees, block-level monitoring and supervising committee and district-level monitoring and supervising committee were set up in this regard.
Suspension foot bridge after completion
The first phase of ground work started from the first week of September, 2012 spearheaded by Mahatma Gandhi NREGA Job Card holders of 5 VECs. The works included clearance of jungle, collection of river sand, masonry stone boulders, chips, etc. The initial phase of construction of foundation was completed during March, 2013. The next phase of foundation on the other side of Simsang River was completed during May, 2013. The construction of super-structure was outsourced to a firm from Guwahati. An agreement was signed between the Construction Committee and the firm to provide skilled workers for erection of towers including materials required for the super-structure such as wire ropes, decking, chequered plates etc.