The construction of the Chenab Rail Bridge in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), believed to be the world’s highest rail bridge, has been stalled since October 2018. This iconic bridge over the Chenab River in the Katra-Banihal sector is part of the Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla Rail Link project. According to railway sources, the project has been stalled due to contractual issues and it is most likely to miss its 2020 deadline.
Other problems such as anti-rust painting of the main arch have also been cited. The Wire stated that other issues including arbitration have also cropped up between Konkan Railway and contractors which have caused stoppage of the work. The chief administrative officer of the Kashmir rail link project, Vijay Sharma assured that issues may be sorted out soon. “There were contractual issues because of which work has stopped. A meeting between the two parties is slated on December 6 and we are hoping that it would be sorted out,” Mr. Sharma said. Despite the temporary stall, Vishwesh Choubey, the Railway Board Member Engineering said the deadline will be met. He said they were hopeful of meeting the target.
According to The Indian Express the arch bridge will have a ‘security setup’. “As J&K is faced with terror activities and prone to earthquakes, M.K. Gupta, Member Engineering of the Railway Board said that the railways will put in place a security setup against any such threat in consultation with defence forces. The bridge has been designed in such a way that it will withstand an earthquake measuring eight on the Richter scale. There will be no damage to the bridge.” The project started in 2004 amid stall in 2008 – 2009 because of the frequent high-velocity winds in the area. Work on this Rs. 1,250 crore bridge would miss its 2020 deadline. Earlier, the deadline had been set to 2019.