New bridge near Laxman Jhula to be built: Rawat



 Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat said here on Saturday a new bridge would be constructed near the iconic Laxman Jhula bridge on the river Ganga near the holy city of Rishikesh.

The state government on Friday decided to close the Laxman Jhula bridge, an iron suspension bridge constructed in 1920s, due to safety concerns.

The Chief Minister said the decision was taken following a report by the IIT Roorkee that the bridge may not withstand the heavy pressure of two-wheelers traffic.

However, pedestrians are still using the bridge as the local residents have protested against the decision.

In the face of the heavy rush during kanwar mela, it was not proper to keep the bridge open, Rawat said and added people's safety was paramount. 

"This is why the bridge has been closed for two-wheelers and instructions have been given to officials to make alternate arrangements at the earliest," the Chief Minister told Ritu Khanduri, an MLA from Yamkeshwar. 

Khanduri, daughter of former Chief Minister B.C. Khanduri, met the Chief Minister and expressed her concerns over the bridge's closure as people from her constituency were heavily dependent on the bridge.

The suspension bridge is a big attraction for people visiting the holy city of Rishikesh. It is widely believed that Laxman, younger brother of Lord Ram, crossed the Ganga on jute ropes where the bridge stands. IANS