The state of J&K has become the first state in northern India to have cable-stayed bridge when UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi laid it foundation stone today on river Ravi in Kathua district
The proposed structure will be built on the lines of the Vidyasagar Setu in Kolkata, Naini Bridge in Allahabad and the Rajiv Gandhi Sea Link in Mumbai.
The 592-metre bridge is to be built by the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) at a cost of Rs. 145 crore. The bridge is scheduled to be constructed by September 2014.
It will also open up an alternative route to National Highway 1A and to the Kashmir Valley via Basholi, Bani, Bhaderwah, Kishtwar, Chhatroo and Anantnag and boost development of these areas. The bridge will open up new areas for development and tourism in Kathua and Doda districts and along the Ranjit Sagar Dam.
It will also link Jammu & Kashmir with the neighbouring states of Himachal Pradesh and Punjab.
A galaxy of dignitaries attended the foundation stone laying ceremony. They included the Defence Minister AK Antony, Union Minister for Health & Family Welfare Shri Ghulam Nabi Azad, Minister for New & Renewable Energy Dr Farooq Abdullah, Chief Minister of J&K Shri Omar Abdullah, the Minister of State for Defence Dr MM Pallam Raju.
Later addressing at a well attended public gathering at Basohli, UPA Chairperson, Smt. Sonia Gandhi said the Central Government will provide liberal assistance to Jammu and Kashmir for its overall wholesome development.
The UPA Government recently announced a package for the State whereby one lakh jobs will be provided to the youth of the state in a period of 3- 5 years, Sonia Gandhi said.
Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh and J&K Chief Minister Oamr Abdullah are working in tandem to take the J&K State on the path of progress and development, she further added.
She complimented the people of the State for their massive participation in the ongoing Panchayat elections and said that it should be an eye opener to the separatists and militants who by their disruptive activities are undermining the strength of the country and vitiating the peaceful atmosphere in the country.
She said that while there will be no compromise on tackling the challenge of militancy and terrorism, at the same time Government has explored ways to have meaningful and fruitful dialogue with neighbor.
The Chief Ministrer of J&K Omar Abdulla said that the bridge over river Ravi will connect the state with the rest of India. It will link the Kashmir and Leh through Kargil with Jammu, he added. Dr. Farooq Abdullah said it is not possible to provide food, medicines and necessary materials to people living in remove areas of the state without such connectivity bridge which will go a long way to meet the travel and other needs of the people. He thanked Sonia Gandhi for taking care of the needs of the people of J&K.