The world’s highest rail bridge being constructed over the Chenab river in Reasi district of Jammu and Kashmir will be “terror attack-proof” and is expected to be completed by early 2019, the Konkan Railway has said.
“Apart from being safe from all possible disasters, including earthquakes, this bridge will be absolutely safe to sustain terror strike and every precautionary step is being considered to make it foolproof,” Konkan Railway Chairman and Managing Director Sanjay Gupta told reporters, who visited the bridge site.
“I want to assure you all that this bridge will be most safe and the perfect way to travel,” said Gupta.
He said almost 60 per cent of the work was done, and after completion, the maximum permissible limit for a train over the bridge would be 90 kmph. An 18-coach train can tolerate wind speed of 80 kmph while passing through it.
“We are making the bridge terror-proof. We have taken logistical support of DRDO officials and when completed, the bridge’s pillars and other parts can withstand a jolt created by 40 kg of RDX with no immediate adverse effect on the operation of the trains,” said another senior official.
The construction of the 359-m high and 1,315-m long rail bridge started in 2005 and it was initially slated to be completed in December 2009.
However, in 2008 the work was stopped amid fears over its stability and safety. Its construction restarted in 2010 and officials hope to complete it by early 2019.
The bridge is part of the much-awaited 326-km-long Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla rail link that will connect the Kashmir valley with the rest of the country.
The three-day Shivkhori Mela kicked-off at Ransoo on Sunday.
The annual mela was inaugurated by Divisional Commissioner, Jammu, Dr Pawan Kotwal.
Kotwal is also the chairman of Shri Shiv Khori Shrine Board (SSKSB).
Many dignitaries, including local MLA Ajay Nanda and District Development Commissioner, Reasi, Sushma Chauhan (also vice chairperson, SSKSB), were also present at the inauguration.
The Tourism Department, SSKSB and Reasi district administration have jointly organised the mela.
The Shivkhori cave shrine is famous among Hindus and is devoted to Lord Shiva.
It is located in the Reasi district of Jammu and Kashmir and is not far from the Mata Vaishno Devi shrine base camp Katra.
Lakhs of tourists and pilgrims visit the Shiv Khori every year.
Week long historical Kousar Nag Yatra along with Charri Mubarak was flagged off from Reasi early this morning with traditional fervor and gaiety by MLA Reasi Mr Ajay Nanda.
Speaking on the occasion, Nanda said he will personally monitor the water availability, stay arrangements, langer facilities right from Reasi to Kousar Nag. He further added that efforts would be made to promote the Kounsar Nag as tourist destination.
He asked civil administration to chalk out a comprehensive strategy to popularize the spot by erecting hoardings at prominent locations, so that pilgrims after visiting the cave shrine of Vaishno Devi here could be diverted to such locations.
The Kousar Nag Yatra along with historical Charri Mubarak was organized successfully in the past due to which the popularity and awareness about Reasi-Chassana route gained huge momentum and a lot of public hailing from different parts of the State expressed willingness to join Kousar Nag Yatra this year. Kousar Nag is one of the highest altitude springs of Kashmir situated at 30 km from Aharbal. The spring shimmers with fresh, crystal clear glacial waters and covers an area of 5 km in length and two and half kilometers in breadth.
Among others, officers from civil and police administration besides prominent citizens, Sarpanchs, Panchs and a large number of people of the area were also present on the occasion.