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The Railways has decided to replace the 101-year-old Pamban bridge’s key structural elements with an outlay of around Rs 25 crore.
Work on the bridge’s span section meant for improving safety, would be taken up at an estimated Rs 19.50 crore. An amount of Rs 1 crore has been earmarked for this in 2015-16. The existing 16 girders on the bridge would also be replaced at an estimated Rs 5.23 crore, and Rs 1 crore has been allocated for this for the next one year.
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The 2.065-km cantilever bridge on the Palk Strait, connecting Rameswaram on Pamban Island to mainland India, started operations in 1914. It was considered to be the country’s first sea bridge and was the longest sea bridge till 2010.
“All members (parts) are now severely corroded and need replacement. During the lifting and lowering of the bridge, hardship is being experienced because of excessive wear and tear of gear in the span section. It is therefore essential to replace the 16 most-corroded girders,” said the summary of Railways Works, Machinery Rolling Stock Programme for 2015-16.
Strengthening and modification of the girders for broad gauge standard was done during 2007. Structurally, the bridge rests on concrete piers and has a double leaf bascule section midway, which can be raised to let ships and barges pass through.
AIADMK chief welcomes Budget for no fare hike
AIADMK chief J Jayalalithaa today welcomed Railway Budget for not raising the passenger segment fares even as she was disappointed the state did not get new trains.
In a statement, she said, “I am happy the Railway Minister has spared the common people and not levied any increase in the passenger rail fares this year”.
She welcomed the minister's proposal to achieve a substantial improvement in the operating ratio in the coming fiscal year through a slew of efficiency measures.
However, Jaya said, “It is disappointing to note the Railway Minister has not made the customarily much-awaited announcements regarding the introduction of new trains.
The travelling public eagerly looks forward to such announcements and would no doubt feel short-changed”.