DM to dedicate inter–state Basohli bridge to nation on Dec 24

After a delay of 14 months, the much talked about inter-state connectivity Basohli bridge over river Ravi on Ranjit Sagar dam linking J&K to Punjab and Himachal Pradesh (HP) via Basohli will be dedicated to nation on December 24 this year.
Constructed at an estimated cost of Rs 145 crore, the bridge will be inaugurated by Defence Minister, Manohar Parrikar.  Though construction work of the bridge has been already completed but its inauguration was delayed up to December 24 as Parliament is in session and the Defence Minister was preoccupied with it. Soon after the conclusion of Parliament session on December 23, the bridge will be inaugurated next day by Parrikar.
This was confirmed by Minister of State in PMO with independent charge of North Eastern States, Dr Jitendra Singh. He said the Defence Minister has given his consent to inaugurate the bridge on December 24.
Sources said the first of its kind in Northern India and fourth in country this is  strategic bridge from defence point of view as it joins J&K with Himachal Pradesh and Punjab via Dunera in Punjab.
Sources said earlier the authorities had given the completion date by September 2014, but due to certain reasons it could not be completed by that period. Later the date was extended up to March 2015 and still the deadline was not kept owing to various reasons.
The Defence Minister will be accompanied by Dr Jitendra Singh who also represents the Kathua –Doda Parliamentary Constituency while the State Government will be represented by Deputy Chief Minster, Dr Nirmal Singh who represents Billawar Assembly constituency and Medical Education and Health Minister, Ch. Lal Singh who represents Basohli Assembly segment and top officers of BRO.
The 592 span bridge is being constructed by Border Roads Organization (BRO) and it is a joint venture of IRCON a Railway Company and SP Singla Construction. Out of 592 span bridge 350 meter span is cable stayed while rest is plain bridge.
Sources said this bridge has a peculiarity that its main span and back span are balanced by cable. This bridge has been designed by a Canadian Company, Infinity Engineers and one engineer from the company was monitoring its construction right from start of the work up to its completion, sources added.
Earlier, the construction was delayed due to design rechecking at the site of work and the hailstorm at the dam site which hampered the work to a great extent as great risk was involved in operation of tower crane during that period, sources said.
This bridge will act as lifeline for the people of Basohli and Bani tehsils and it will shorten their distance of travel to HP and Punjab States to a great extent.
People of the area have many expectations with the bridge for which they had started a long agitation during late nineties. The bridge was sanctioned during the rule of then NDA Government led by Atal Behari Vajpayee after the issue was taken up by the people of Basohli vigorously, said Deputy Chief Minister, Dr Nirmal Singh. He said agitation was held in Basohli by the people at that time whose trade was hit with the construction of Ranjit Sagar dam under which many villages were submerged.
However, the foundation stone of the bridge was laid by UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi in May 2010 and work was started in September same year.
An inter-state connectivity bridge, it will link Basohli and Bani with Bhaderwah from one side and Basohli and Billawar with Udhampur and Kashmir valley on the other side. The bridge will also help in promotion of tourism as a large number of tourists visiting picnic spots Dalhousie and other sight seeing places in HP can also visit Ranjit Sagar Dam and Basohli to boost local tourism in the area for which the coalition government led by Mufti Mohammed Sayeed has already taken many steps, said Deputy Chief Minister, Dr Nirmal Singh.
Moreover, the road will also help in boosting pilgrimage tourism as tourists can also visit the picnic and pilgrimage centers in Bani, Basohli and Billawar, he added.

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