The South-Central Railway, Secunderabad, has decided in principle to hand over the 120-year-old decommissioned bridge across the Godavari and 1085.59 sq. yards of land adjacent to it in Rajamahendravaram to Andhra Pradesh in exchange of 2583.33 sq. yards of land offered by the State government.
The Railway Board is likely to issue the sanction order during its meeting scheduled to be held this month, Rajamahendravaram MP M. Bharat has told The Hindu after a meeting with Railway Board Chairman V.K. Yadav.
The 2.74-km length bridge, named after the then Governor of Madras, Sri Arthur Elibank Havelock, was commissioned on November 11, 1897 and thrown open for traffic on August 30, 1900. It was decommissioned in 1997 after its service for over a century in the history of Indian Railways.
In January, 2017, the Railway Board accorded approval for handing over the bridge to the State government on as is where is basis subject to the conditions that exchange of railway land in the vicinity of bridge with the land of equivalent value.
In July, East Godavari Collector D. Muralidhar Reddy wrote to the Indian Railways stating that the district administration was ready to hand over 2,583.33 sq. yards of land (Survey No.317 in Rajamahendravaram city) to the railways and request it to expedite further action to take possession of the railway land (1085 sq. yards) adjacent to the bridge.
On October 12, Chief General Engineer A. Achuta Rao (works branch, South Central Railway, Secunderabad) requested Executive Director (land and amenities), Railway Board, to communicate the handover proposal of the bridge and the respective land to the State government.
Mr. Bharat said he explained to the Railway Board Chairman about the State government's plan to develop the bridge on the lines of London Bridge. A 100-crore beautification plan is being prepared to develop it into one of the prime tourist destinations in the country, said Mr. Bharat.
Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy was briefed about the beautification plan and the project would help Rajamahendravaram get the heritage tag under the HRIDAY (Heritage City Development and Augmentation Yojna), said the MP.