Railways want new Yamuna bridge, ASI says no

Old iron bridge near Old Delhi rly station needs alternative

shivani

Shivani Chaturvedi | September 15, 2010



Movement of dozens of trains passing through Delhi have remained affected during the past few days after the Yamuna swelled above the danger mark and the railway authorities had to close down the bridge connecting Shahdara and Old Delhi railway station. Some trains were cancelled and others were diverted to New Delhi station.

This has become a regular phenomenon during every rainy season. Reason: the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) is not permitting the construction of a 700 metre bridge planned by Northern Railways to replace the existing British era iron bridge.

The railway authorities had declared the existing bridge as endangered and planned to build a new bridge with the initial sanctioned cost of Rs 58.32 crore. An agreement was done between the ministries of railways and tourism and the work started in 2004, railway sources said. But in late 2006 the work got suspended as higher level ASI officials did not permit the construction saying a part of the structure will pass through Salimgarh Fort adjoining the historic Red Fort. For the construction of the bridge the Fort’s wall needs to be scaled down and the ASI authorities say they cannot allow the construction even within 100 metres of the protected monuments.

“We tried to approach the ASI authorities several times but to no avail,” said a railway officer. Despite several efforts ASI authorities could not be contacted for comment.

The partly constructed bridge is awaiting progress but it seems the ASI is not going to budge from its stand. Every rainy season the trains, the passengers and the ageing Yamuna bridge will have to undergo the suffering.

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