RAMANATHAPURAM: Residents of Rameswaram have expressed severe displeasure over railway officials now stating that construction work of the new Pamban Railway Bridge will get over only in September. The work had got delayed multiple times, and it was finally slated to be finished this month. “Now, they have delayed it by another month. This delays the restoration of train services and, in turn, the normalcy on our island,” the residents said.
Rail Vikas Nigam Limited began the construction of the new rail bridge beside the old bridge in 2019, and it was expected to be finished in March 2023. However, as per a recent status report issued by the railway officials, the works will be completed in September.
“More than 91% of physical works have been completed. As many as 76 out of 99 spans have been installed and the track linking for the 76 spans has been completed. The ‘latest anticipated cost’ of the project is Rs 545 crore,” the officials said.
Residents of Rameswaram and activists have submitted a petition to the officials urging them to expedite the works. AITUC Fishing Workers Association state secretary C R Senthilvel said, “Most people here are employed in fishing and tourism sectors, and the Pamban bridge plays a significant role in both. It has been seven months since the rail services to Rameswaram got suspended.
This has led to severe hardships for the residents. Fishermen have to bear the additional expense of transporting fish from Rameswaram to Mandabam railway station, and tourist vehicle operators on the island are not finding any work. So, we request the officials to open the bridge for public use as soon as possible.”