KL NEWS NETWORK
Chief Minister, Ms Mehbooba Mufti Tuesday evening inaugurated the refurbished historic Zero Bridge on river Jhelum to be used exclusively for pedestrian movement.
She also inaugurated heritage Food Court on the banks of the river Jhelum.
Member Parliament, Muzaffar Hussain Beigh; Tasaduq Mufti (brother of CM Ms Mehbooba Mufti); Minister for Public Works (R&B), A R Veeri; Minister of State for Tourism and Education, Priya Sethi; Minister of State for Social Welfare and Health, Asiea Naqash; Member Legislative Assembly Amira Kadal, Syed Mohammad Altaf Bukhari; MLA Ms Anjum Fazili; Chief Secretary, B R Sharma; Director General Police, K Rajendra; Principal Secretary to Chief Minister, Navin K Choudhary; Secretary Tourism, Farooq Ahmad Shah; Managing Director JKPCC and other officers of R&B, Tourism and other departments besides a large number of people were present on the occasion.
The bridge is being promoted as a heritage tourism spot for its unique historic and cultural blend.
The reconstructed bridge having kiosks and food court on the deck is all set to be an attraction for locals and tourists. The Zero Bridge will be a complete walkthrough site connecting Rajbagh and Sonwar.
Reconstructed at a cost of Rs 11 crore by Jammu and Kashmir Projects Construction Corporation Limited (JKPCC), the bridge was dismantled in 2012. For the past four years, the 154-metre long bridge has been revamped with deodar and wooden decks on both sides.
Zero Bridge is the oldest bridges in the state’s summer capital constructed in 1950s.
Impressed with the facets of the refurbished bridge, the then Chief Minister, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed had during his visit to the site in 2015 announced that it should come up as a heritage tourism spot in the city.
Following the directions of the then Chief Minister, the refurbished bridge has been given a traditional Kashmiri heritage touch. A traditional houseboat design ‘Food Court’ has been built near the bridge which is a blend of traditional and modern outlook, an official spokesperson said this evening.
“The bridge would be used for only pedestrian movement. It is a sort of picnic spot laced with traditional design,” JKPCC officials said.
Having a seating capacity of 2700 sqfts, the centrally heated Food Court has four sightseeing decks. The Food Court will have four-seater tables in dining room, a kitchen, two wash rooms, besides a lounge. The roof of the court has thermo-treated flooring keeping in view the cold climate in Kashmir.
Earlier, the bridge was used for vehicular movement, but in 1980 its wooden planks and piers could no longer support vehicular traffic. Subsequently, the bridge located two kilometers from city centre Lal Chowk, was closed for vehicular traffic two decades ago.
Meanwhile, reports said that the dinner function at Food Court witnessed participation of almost all top cops from Kashmir region besides some officers from civil administration. “Police officials from the rank of SPs to DGP were present in the function and majority of them had their families with them,” sources said.
“Besides Institute of Hotel Management prepared food varieties, the local entrepreneurs were engaged who had prepared different cuisines for the top officials and their families,” they added.
The Kashmir’s 2015 IAS successful candidates led second topper, Athar Amir, were also present on the occasion.
“The function was a no-go area for media,” a participant said, “there were strict instructions not to allow any journalist inside the function.” “There were select invitations and the function was held out of media glare.”