Leh (J&K), Dec 4: Leh district administration and Indian Air Force brought joy to hundreds of people living in remote Nerak belt in Ladakh by jointly constructing a new bridge over the Zanskar river connecting the village with the district.
"The Leh district administration and Indian Air Force have jointly accomplished a new feat of coordination in Ladakh region by enabling the construction of a bridge in the remote village of Nerak, in the famous Zanskar range," District Magistrate Leh district Simrandeep Singh said.
Considered as an herculean task, IAF airlifted nearly 14 tonnes of the material used for building the bridge as well as the engineers over a period of 14 days involving 32 air sorties of Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) known as Dhruv and Cheetah type of helicopters, the Leh DC said.
"The daredevil task was undertaken by the ALH squadron and Helicopter Unit of Indian Airforce. The helicopter unit is also famous for its Siachen operations", DC said.
"The bridge has a span of 23 meters and hangs over two parallel cliffs, which are 13-meters-high. It has been constructed at an estimated cost of 26 lakhs," Singh said. "Nerak is a village with about 100 households in the Zanskar range of Leh district which is so far connected with rest of Leh district through a old wooden bridge, hanging over the Zanskar river", Singh said.
"After crossing the bridge, the villagers need to trek for 2 days to reach Leh district headquarter," he said, adding "the existing bridge as per the villagers is nearly seven decades old and belongs to the days of the monarch of Ladakh".
The villagers have repeatedly been approaching the civil administration for a safe bridge, as the existing bridge was very old and didn't have side walls. "People approached the civil administration for the bridge. We took steps in this direction for mitigating their problem," Singh said.
"Lack of connectivity was the only challenge preventing the administration from constructing a new bridge as the components could not be transported to the site of construction," he said.
"The material was purchased from the Steel Authority of India and was brought via road from Jammu to Leh. Thereafter, the DC Leh utilised the annual winter tonnage, allotted to civil administration, for airlifting the bridge components from Leh to Nerak," he said.