Rajahmundry: The demand for developing the historic Havelock Bridge across the Godavari river as a tourist spot has picked up momentum following assurances from two Union ministers recently.
The proposal has been pending since the bridge was decommissioned by the Indian Railways in 1997. The bridge was constructed in 1897 and was a crucial link between Kolkata and Chennai for nearly 100 years.
Stretching over three kilometres, connecting Rajahmundry in East Godavari to Kovvur in West Godavari, it was constructed with stone masonry and steel girders and remains a piece of architectural delight to tourists.
Ever since it was decommissioned, there's been a dispute over the structure between the Centre and the state government, which wanted the bridge without paying anything in return.
In the wake of the recent visit of Union minister of state for railways Kotla Jaya Surya Prakash Reddy to the city, local MLA Routhu Suryaprakasa Rao, issued a statement that a proposal to hand over the bridge to the municipal corporation is under active consideration.
When contacted, Mr Suryaprakasa Rao said Union minister of state for tourism K. Chiranjeevi had assured that funds would be allocated to develop the bridge as a tourist attraction. However, the locals demanded that the bridge should be declared as a national monument. They also appealed to the public representatives from the region to improve the city in order to make it a tourism centre.