The Uttarakhand government on Friday said it had closed the iconic Laxman Jhula bridge on river Ganga in Rishikesh over safety concerns. The narrow bridge is used only by pedestrians and two wheelers.
However, police officials said the local administration was yet to receive a formal order for its closure. “The pedestrians are still using the bridge,” said Laxman Jhula SHO Rajinder Singh Kathait.
Sub Divisional Magistrate Neekanth Sham Singh Rana said the decision to close the bridge came after the Public Works Department and the local Muni Ki Reti Municipality gave a joint technical report stating that the 96-year-old bridge had completed its duration.
Additional Chief Secretary Om Prakash said in an inspection following the report parts of the bridge were found in poor condition and on the verge of collapse. “The bridge is not able to sustain the load of pedestrians anymore. The Muni Ki Reti Municipality therefore recommended its closure with immediate effect, failing which, it said, a big mishap may take place,” he said.
Uttarakhand Agriculture Minister and local MLA Subodh Unniyal confirmed: “Yes, a decision for the closure of the bridge was taken by the Muni Ki Reti Municipality.”
The suspension bridge was constructed in 1923 and was a big attraction for pilgrims visiting the holy city of Rishikesh. It is widely believed that Laxman, the younger brother of Lord Ram, crossed the Ganga where the bridge stands.