Authorities are requesting the required steps to increase the number of visitors to the world’s tallest steel arch rail bridge over the Chenab River in the Reasi region here, officials said on Sunday.
A vital connection in the 111-km length from Katra to Banihal, which is a part of the continuing acclaimed Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla Railway connection (USBRL) project, is the 1.3-km rail bridge, which is placed 359 meters above the riverbed and is 35 meters higher than the famous Eiffel Tower in Paris.
On Saturday, the bridge site at Jyotipuram, 42 kilometers from Reasi town, was inspected by Chief Secretary A K Mehta, Deputy Commissioner Reasi Babila Rakwal, and other personnel, according to the officials.
In the presence of the engineers of the executing agency and executives of Indian Railways, Mehta conducted a thorough examination of the bridge. They informed him of the special characteristics of this engineering masterpiece, which they said had no equivalent anywhere else in the world.
The chief secretary commended the engineering team for making progress on the difficult assignment and urged the district government to take quick action to transform this “architectural marvel” into a tourism attraction.
The bridge’s position, Mehta added, “is also impressive in terms of its aesthetic appeal as it lies in the lap of nature,” and with a little work, the area might become a popular tourist destination.
He urged the district and divisional administration to take action for improved maintenance of the road from Reasi to the bridge site and also suggested that they install crash barriers where necessary.
Mehta said that Jammu and Kashmir’s Reasi district, which also features the Mata Vaishno Devi temple atop Trikuta Hills, had the largest annual visitor foot traffic at about one crore.
“The area’s historic and natural attractions have a great chance of drawing in a lot more visitors. Shiv Khori, Salal Dam, and Bhimgarh Fort are only a few of the well-known locations in the region. By further developing these locations, the region may fully realize its potential and put itself on the map of national tourist destinations, according to the chief secretary.
He made other recommendations for turning the neighborhood into a tourist hotspot, which would open up job prospects for both locals and people of other Union Territory regions.
According to the authorities, he urged creating a well-thought-out strategy to expand the tourism circuit within this area by providing all necessary facilities and improving connection between these locations for hassle-free visitor movement.
The 119 km long railway project includes 38 tunnels and 931 bridges, totaling 13 km in length, to make it feasible to build the railway connection in this difficult terrain tucked within the majestic Himalayas.