Even as railway authorities seem to be oblivious to the lurking danger, lives of countless train passengers are put at risk due to cracks in the railroad bridge number 171 across the Upper Bari Doab Canal (UBDC) at Dhariwal.
When contacted, assistant divisional engineer based in Pathankot told Hindustan Times that the matter was not in his knowledge. Quizzed further, he maintained that he was in the field and would be able to tell about the 39.31-metre bridge only after consulting official records by Saturday evening. He assured that he would visit the bridge to ensure its repair.
On the other hand, Dhariwal PWD (B and R) senior sectional engineer Hardev Singh admitted that the rail bridge across the UBDC at Dhariwal was "as old as the railways in India".
He too feigned ignorance about the cracks in the base of the bridge, assuring that he would visit the spot to see what could be done to repair the structure.
It is pertinent to mention here that the bridge holds the only rail link between Pathankot and Amritsar. In case the cracks widen in the absence of adequate preventive measures, the bridge might collapse, which in turn would snap the only railway link between the two cities of Punjab through scores of trains every day.