February 2004 News

India, Pakistan May Jointly Set Up Small Bridges On Uri Road

16 February 2004
News Network International

Srinagar: Government of India is negotiating with Islamabad to jointly set up and maintain three small bridges and culverts that either fall in the no-man's land or are partially on the other side of Line of Control on the historic Uri-Muzafarabad road. The outcome of the negotiations is not known, well placed sources said but admitted it is going to be positive. It was during Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed's Saturday visit to Uri that the armed forces briefed him about the progress on the reopening of the road. Though one building has already come up in the main township, the Customs & Excise Department is raising a number of facilities in and around the township. For paucity of space at the Kaman post, sources said, the entire infrastructure would come up in Adoosa and certain back up facilities at Slamabad, reports Kashmir Times. 'It is going to be a replica of the Wagah border post with additional facilities', one senior official who was part of the visit said. J&K's newly appointed Commissioner Central Excise & Customs M S Badan who accompanied Chief Minister stayed in Uri for the night to take the final decisions as far as his main infrastructure is concerned. The state government would start transferring the particular stretches of lands - to be identified by the Excise Commissioner - to the Central Excise department within days. Though raising infrastructure would take some months, Badan told Chief Minister that they will raise the temporary infrastructure at a 10-day notice if the government at the centre chooses so. The department has in fact identified its staff to serve at this post, the status of which would be decided only after the two countries decide. As for as the road beyond Adoosa, Mufti was told by the army that the last stretch of 3.2 Kms up to the Kaman post being in dis-use for last many decades is in a bad shape and most of it continues to be heavily mined. He was told that while the Twin bridge (usually termed as Weak Bridge) needs to be replaced, there is urgent need to replace the culvert at Kaman post. The latter is said to be 210 feet long. The army plan envisages its replacement by a RCC type. This bridge could be helpful if the government chooses to set up the Uri-II. There are three bridges that fall in the the no-man's land or are partially in the no-man's land for which negotiatins are on between India and Pakistan to jointly set up them and later mainatian them, sources said. Earlier, MoS Defence Chaman Lal Gupta flew to Chandanwari to inaugurate a bridge at Chandawari, that falls on the same road. The 30-meter long bridge was set up by BRO's Project Beacon and cost over Rs. 90 lakhs. 'The Government of India will continue her efforts to make the re-opening of Muzafarabad Road a reality', Prof Chaman Lal Gupta said. 'We have done our bit, it is the turn of Pakistan and the ball lies in Pakistan's court', he said. Gupta supported the state government demand that the Uri-Srinagar road must be widened. He said some sort of a decision on re-opening of this road is likely on March 28.-


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