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World's highest rail bridge gets design approval

Design and alignment plans of what is being touted as the world's highest rail bridge project over river Chenab in J&K has been approved. Srinand Jha reports. Standing tall

delhi Updated: Jul 09, 2012 01:46 IST
Srinand Jha

Design and alignment plans of what is being touted as the world's highest rail bridge project over river Chenab in J&K has been approved.

For want of overall clearances, implementation work on the ambitious rail bridge project - constituting a critical link of the Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla Rail Link (USBRL) - had been in doldrums since 2008.

Plans for expediting the prestigious national project were firmed up at a meeting convened by Railway Board chairman Vinay Mittal last week.

In the last fortnight, a series of meetings have been held between officials of the agencies concerned to thrash out the administrative and financial matters concerning the bridge construction plans.

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"Expediting work on the Kashmir rail link project is among my top priorities. Work on the Chenab Bridge is expected to progress swiftly in coming months," Gupta told HT.

Implementation work on the 70 km long Katra-Dharam section, which incorporates the Chenab bridge construction, is being undertaken by the Konkan Railway Corporation Ltd (KRCL) - which recently bagged the prestigious Turnaround Trophy from Board for Reconstruction of Public Sector Enterprises (BRPSE).

"The KRCL is doing its best to meet the 2017 targets on bridge construction. The work is being undertaken in consultation with the Northern Railways," KRCL spokesman Siddheshwar Telegu said.

Meanwhile, Gupta informed that the Udhampur-Katra section of the Kashmir rail project would become operational by June next year - six months ahead of schedule.

With the completion of this 30 kilometer long section, costing R945.8 crore, it will be possible for Vaishno-Devi-bound pilgrims to take a direct train to Katra. At present, the Indian Railways do not offer a direct connectivity to Katra.