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The starting point to Ram Sethu is set to be on the Indian Railway map

PW Bureau

The 17-km line which will connect Rameshwaram to Dhanushkodi will be built at a cost of around Rs 208 crore New Delhi: The starting point of Ram Sethu and an important pilgrim destination, Dhanushkodi, is set to be now connected to Rameshwaram via rail with the government approving the laying down of a new broad-gauge railway line between the two. The 17-km line will be built at a cost of around Rs 208 crore and has been included in the umbrella work for new lines that will be undertaken by the Ministry of Railways in the current financial year. After the 1964 cyclone that devastated Rameshwaram, Dhanushkodi station was destroyed and had been in an abandoned state since then. The lack of connectivity via rail had turned the popular pilgrim destination into a ghost town. Hindu pilgrimage at Rameshwaram gets completed only after taking a dip in Dhanushkodi.

The Railways has also given a nod for the construction of a new bridge on Pamban channel, which will replace the 104-year-old structure over the sea. The bridge, which will be built alongside the existing structure at Rs 249 crore, will be the first bridge in India to have a vertical-lift span.

Apart from being a boon to pilgrims, the new railway line is expected to boost tourism in the town. The plan to connect this town through the rail network has also stoked expectations that the rail-cum-sea route to Sri Lanka may be restored. The Railways has also given a nod for the construction of a new bridge on Pamban channel, which will replace the 104-year-old structure over the sea. The bridge, which will be built alongside the existing structure at Rs 249 crore, will be the first bridge in India to have a vertical-lift span. A vertical-lift bridge or lift bridge is a type of movable bridge in which a span rises vertically while remaining parallel with the deck. So, when there is high tide or a ship has to pass through, the span will be lifted up and this will be an automatic electric operated one.