The world’s highest steel arch rail bridge over the Chenab River, Chenab Bridge in Reasi district, Jammu is being developed as a tourist spot with authorities calling for necessary measures for increasing the visitors’ footfall, officials said on Sunday, October 1.
The 1.3-km rail bridge located 359 metres above the riverbed 35 metres higher than the iconic Eiffel Tower in Paris forms a crucial link in the 111-km stretch from Katra to Banihal, which is part of the ongoing prestigious Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla Railway Link (USBRL) project.
Chief Secretary A K Mehta along with Deputy Commissioner, Reasi Babila Rakwal and other officers visited the bridge site near Jyotipuram, 42 km from Reasi town, on Saturday, the officials said.
Mehta had a detailed inspection of the bridge in the presence of the engineers of the executing agency and officers of Indian Railways who apprised him about the unique features of this engineering marvel having no parallel in the world, they said.
Chenab Bridge |
Appreciating the engineering staff for moving towards completing the challenging task, the chief secretary impressed upon the district administration to take immediate measures to turn this 'architectural marvel' into a tourist spot.
“The location of the bridge is also impressive in terms of its aesthetic appeal as it lies in the lap of nature”, Mehta said, adding that with little intervention the spot could turn into a great attraction for tourists.
He enjoined the divisional and district administration to take measures for better upkeep of the road from Reasi to the bridge site besides advising them to install crash barriers wherever required.
Mehta said the Reasi district, which also houses Mata Vaishno Devi shrine atop Trikuta hills, has the highest tourist footfall in Jammu and Kashmir which nearly crosses a crore mark each year.
Chenab Bridge |
“The district has a very good potential to attract many more people to its historic and natural places. It has many well-known sites such as Shiv Khori, Salal Dam and Bhimgarh Fort which offers it a huge opportunity to tap its potential by further developing these to bring them on the national tourism map,” the chief secretary said.
He also gave more suggestions to make the district a tourism hub which would create employment opportunities not only for locals but also for residents of other areas of the Union Territory.
He called for having a well-developed plan to develop the tourist circuit inside this district by developing all the relevant amenities and enhancing the connectivity between these places for hassle-free movement of the tourists, the officials said.
The 119 km long railway project comprises 38 tunnels and 931 bridges having a combined length of 13 km to make the railway link possible in this rough terrain nestled in the mighty Himalayas.