Rishikesh: Amid protests by locals, the nearly century-old Laxman Jhula bridge in Rishikesh, was closed for pedestrians on Sunday after a ban was imposed on vehicular movement earlier.
After a meeting of police, local administration and Public Works Department (PWD) on Sunday, the PWD executive engineer announced that the decision to close the bridge was taken after an Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) report said that the bridge was not fit for pedestrian use.
Soon after, the PWD department sealed entrances of the bridge from both sides by iron sheet and girders amidst staunch opposition by the local residents. Police also deployed forces on site to control the situation.
On Saturday, Uttrakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat had said that the government will take substantial steps to preserve the bridge.
"Lakshman Jhula is Uttrakhand's cultural heritage. We will take substantial steps to preserve it. Keeping public safety in mind, we have closed the bridge. An alternative bridge will be constructed soon to provide relief to the people," he said.
Laxman Jhula is a 450 feet long iron suspension bridge constructed over Ganga river in 1923 and is one of the landmarks of the city. According to mythology, Lakshman, brother of Lord Rama, crossed the river on jute ropes at the place where the bridge is currently built.