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Uttarakhand plans to make abandoned bridges tourist attractions

To start the project, the PWD has identified five such abandoned bridges that fall on the Chardham Yatra route. The five bridges identified are on Delhi-Badrinath highway, Dehradun-Rishikesh highway, Rishikesh-Phoolchatti highway, Rudraprayag-Gaurikund highway and Kotdwar-Pauri highway.

Initially, one or two of these identified bridges would be developed as restaurants. If the initiative is successful, more bridges will be brought under this scheme and made into tourist attractions. (Express)

The Uttarakhand government has devised a plan to turn abandoned bridges into restaurants in order to generate revenue while promoting tourism. According to Uttarakhand Tourism and Public Works Department (PWD) Minister Satpal Maharaj, the construction of the National Highway and two-lane bridges on them meant that several bridges in the state went out of use.

To start the project, the PWD has identified five such abandoned bridges that fall on the Chardham Yatra route. The five bridges identified are on Delhi-Badrinath highway, Dehradun-Rishikesh highway, Rishikesh-Phoolchatti highway, Rudraprayag-Gaurikund highway and Kotdwar-Pauri highway.

Initially, one or two of these identified bridges would be developed as restaurants. If the initiative is successful, more bridges will be brought under this scheme and made into tourist attractions.

Maharaj says that although not in use, the structure of these bridges is still very strong. “I thought we could build a glass floor on these bridges and construct restaurants or similar facilities. On one side of these bridges there will be scenery and, on the other, we can create parking facilities. I directed the PWD to analyse and identify the bridges. If successful, we can make these two-storey facilities,” said Maharaj.

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Claiming Uttarakhand would be the first state in the country to implement such an initiative, Maharaj said this idea came to him when he visited New Zealand and saw a restaurant built on an abandoned metal bridge.

“I saw customers enjoying the view of a river on both sides. Later, when I visited Gangotri, I found several narrow metal bridges in our state that were defunct,” said Maharaj. The minister said the government does not need a separate proposal for this initiative because the PWD and the Tourism Department can collaborate and accomplish the result.

“These are several beautiful PWD properties from the British era. These properties are not in good condition but are in beautiful locations. We plan to renovate them in PPP mode,” he said.

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The minister also said the plan is to give the bridges on lease and construct restaurants in PPP mode. He also said he had directed the PWD officials to give the lease for at least 30 years because no one would be interested in investing several lakh rupees for a short duration (say five years).

The minister was confident that the move will boost tourism and generating revenue.

PWD Chief Engineer and Head of Department Ayaz Ahmad said that they have identified five bridges and have passed on the list to Tourism Department, which will move ahead with the project.

First published on: 12-08-2022 at 03:06:19 am
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