|Early Times Report|
Srinagar, May 18: The state high court today directed government to involve Economic Reconstruction Agency (ERA) on the issue of increasing height of skewed bridge on river Jhelum opposite a school at Rajbagh in Srinagar.
As hearing in PIL started, the advocate general showed a sketch, stating that increasing the height of the bridge at its original place was not possible and instead showed a 'green spot' earmarked for construction of a new bridge parallel to the Abdullah Bridge, which had already been stayed by the court.
After hearing him, a division bench of Chief Justice Badar Durrez Ahmed and Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey directed the government to appoint ERA so that the agency 'comes up with a stand with regard to the feasibility of increasing the height of the bridge at its original place'.
The bench directed him to furnish the report from ERA by May 25 next. Last month, the high court had ordered government to construct skewed and not the footbridge on Jhelum. The bench had also stayed construction of a new bridge parallel to the Abdullah Bridge.
The government in an affidavit had stated that the project was approved by it on October 13, 1981 for 'Improvement to Road Communication System in Srinagar City'. Besides the skewed bridge, the project envisaged construction of new roads and improvement, upgradation and widening of some existing roads.
"In the Master Plan 1971-91 for the city, there was vision for the North-South corridor connecting the southern parts of the city with the core and northern areas and decision was taken by the government to construct a 2-lane Abdullah Bridge connecting TRC with Rajbagh. The bridge has only a 2-lane approach on the Rajbagh side".
While staying the construction of new bridge parallel to the Abdullah Bridge, the court had made it clear to the executing agency that no construction shall be carried out by it till further orders.