Two bridges constructed by Defence Ministry inaugurated in Kashmir

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Srinagar, May 28 (UNI) Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad today inaugurated two vital bridges in the Kashmir Valley at Padgampora in Pulwama district and Sitkari in Sonamarg.

The bridges, constructed by Project BEACON, will improve connectivity and facilitate traffic movement in these areas situated in north and south Kashmir, respectively.

The Padgampora Bridge over river Jhelum is about 540 feet long and had been constructed at the cost of Rs 6.25 crore. It replaced the old-wooden bridge constructed about 55 years ago.

Funds for the new bridge have been provided by the Defence Ministry through the Indian Air Force.

An official spokesman said although the construction of the bridge was taken up in 2003, only 30 per cent work had been completed until last year. The remaining 70 per cent was, however, completed now.

Air Officer Commanding, Jammu and Kashmir Air Vice Marshal A V Chauhan, GoC, Victor Force, Maj General Kishen Singh, Chief Engineer, BEACON, Brigadier A K Bhutani and District Development Commissioner, Pulwama, Meraj Ahmad Kakroo were present at the inaugural function.

The Sitkari Bridge over river Sindh, two km short of the famous tourist resort of Sonamarg, is located on the Srinagar-Drass national highway.

The 172 foot-long bridge had been constructed at the cost of Rs 3 crore. The bridge was completed in 15 months and forms part of the 434 km Srinagar-Leh road declared by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as National Highway 1D on March 31, 2006. The up-gradation and double-laning on the highway was started soon and work was presently in progress on the 160 km stretch highway.

Speaking on the occasion, the Chief Minister lauded the Indian Air Force for providing funds for the construction of the Padgampora Bridge, saying the facility had come as a great relief to the people.

He said the Air Force had always come to the rescue of the people of Jammu and Kashmir in times of need and emergencies.

He recalled the snow tsunami and devastating earthquake of 2005 that caused heavy loss of life and property in the state.

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