Paan-tamul and gutka stains are unarguably one of the most common sights in a country like India and in a major disgrace, within a week of the reopening of the Old Saraighat Bridge, the railings were found to be painted with paan stains.
Half-chewed mouthfuls of betel leaf, areca nut and slaked lime spat out by pedestrians were spotted on the railings of the Assam’s first rail-cum-road bridge over the river Brahmaputra.
Paan-tamul with a dash of lime is an integral part of Assamese culture. And consuming gutka is common in the state despite numerous anti-tobacco campaigns here.
It may be mentioned here that the old Saraighat bridge was reopened for public on June 20th, 2019 after extensive repairs of its road deck. Almost 500 workers were engaged to carry out the technically challenging task of replacing all the 54 slabs on the entire upper deck along with the replacement of 11 expansion joints over the pillars that are progressing as planned.
The methods adopted to replace 54 deck slabs and the 11 connecting expansion joints involved breaking down the concrete slabs, expansion joint slabs and removing the expansion joints. On an average 75 workers per day, were engaged in breaking the slabs and 45 workers per day were engaged in carrying these broken pieces away and cleaning.
The Saraighat rail-cum-road bridge, which was commissioned in 1963, handles a huge volume of road and rail traffic everyday. The bridge was built by the Northeast Frontier Railway, under the direction of chief engineer Bankim Chandra Ganguli. Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru dedicated the bridge and formally named it after the Battle of Saraighat on June 7th, 1963.