As many as 750 local people have been roped in for the construction of the world’s tallest railway bridge over the Chenab in Kashmir valley
Vishwas Dass | June 5, 2017
Three years ago, Ashwani Kumar Sharma, a resident of Kauri block in Reasi district, Jammu and Kashmir, lost his job as a labourer. Kauri, a small village located beyond the Vaishno devi hills, around 65 km from capital Jammu, offered almost no job opportunities. Locals were mostly into agriculture.
Sharma would take up odd jobs to support his family of five. “I had lost all hopes of getting a good job. Whatever job I was doing, it was not paying me enough. Because of this locals have left the village to work elsewhere,” says Sharma.
Special training has been imparted to local welders to work on the project.
Sensors will be installed on the bridge to assess the wind velocity. If the wind speed exceeds 90 kmph, the signal on the track would turn red to stop trains approaching towards the bridge.
The bridge connects Bakkal (Katra, Jammu) with Kauri (Srinagar) which forms the 111- km stretch between Katra and Banihal, which is part of Udhampur-Srinagar- Baramulla section of the Kashmir railway project.
Officials at the fabrication workshop at the site.
Given the grim situation in Kashmir, the Chenab bridge is considered to be vulnerable to terrorist attacks. Keeping this in mind, the bridge has been designed to withstand high explosions. The railways had sought the help of Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) for this.
The region falls under zone four of high risk seismicity but the railways has considered it as zone five for the most adverse conditions.
The Konkan railways is also planning to develop the area around the Chenab bridge as a major tourist attraction. Officials say adventure sports activities like bungee jumping may be introduced. The Konkan railways has sent a proposal to the state government on making the region an adventure sports hub. With the perennial tourist flow to Vaishno Devi shrine being just 35 km away (by road), the officials are hopeful that the region would attract young tourists in hordes and usher in prosperity and development in the hills.
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