Dharamsala, August 20
The 800-metre-long railway bridge over the Chakki river on the border of Punjab and Himachal in Kangra district collapsed on Saturday morning.
Sources said a flash flood in the Chakki washed away the weakened pillar of the bridge.
With this, the narrow-gauge train service between Pathankot and Jogindernagar will remain suspended till a new pillar of the bridge is constructed. Daily seven trains used to run between Pathankot and Jogindernagar on the narrow gauge rail line constructed and commissioned by the British in 1928.
The rail line is the lifeline for hundreds of villages located in the Pong Dam wildlife sanctuary, where there are no roads or bus service. The people of these villages used the train service to connect to the district headquarters of Kangra.
The 90-year-old railway bridge was weakened following illegal mining in the riverbed. The railway authorities had repeatedly complained regarding the damage being caused to the bridge due to illegal mining.
Last month, a pillar of the bridge had developed cracks after which the train services were suspended. Now the pillar has been washed away.
Meanwhile, with most of the rivers in spate in Kangra district, many roads have been blocked and damage caused to public and private infrastructure.
Deputy Commissioner Nipun Jindal said water had entered the building of Rajiv Gandhi Engineering College in Nagorta Bagwan area after flash flood in the local rivulet. The building has been vacated. The students living in hostels have shifted to safer places, he said.
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