Srinagar: Failure of authorities to remove bottlenecks in road widening from Dalgate to Zakura is taking toll on commuters due to frequent traffic jams along the route.
Started in 2009, widening of the road also known as Syed Meerak Shah Road from Dalgate to Zakura with an aim to streamline vehicular movement through congested areas of the old city and remove traffic snarls. However, the project has been facing many delays as officials have been citing scarcity of funds for acquisition and demolitions of remaining structures.
While widening of most of the stretch of the Meerak Shah road has been completed, remaining structures at Khayam, Khanyar and Rainawari cripple vehicular movement in the whole area.
“It has become tortuous to travel along Khayam area in peak hours due to these remaining structures, Although a large portion of the road has been widened by dismantling the structures along the way, there is the biggest bottleneck at Khayam area. If these remaining bottlenecks are not cleared, it will defeat the whole purpose of widening the road along the stretch,” said a commuter.
At Nowpora, while three shops were demolished a few months ago, the land beneath these structures has not been levelled to complete the road widening. Besides, a transformer in the middle of the road poses a risk of accidents for commuters driving from Downtown.
An official, who has worked closely on the project, said that there are multiple bottlenecks that are to be removed near Khayam chowk, and the process for the same was initiated.
“We completed costing and other formalities long back to clear these structures. There are certain issues related to funding and other technicalities that is why the process gets delayed,” said the official.
To mention, last month while closing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL), the High Court of J&K and Ladakh expressed hope that the government will remove bottlenecks in widening of road from Dalgate to Hazratbal with the requisite speed.
An NGO, J&K Peoples Forum in 2018 had filed the PIL seeking the court’s intervention to complete the construction and widening of the road from Dalgate to Hazratbal, Srinagar. The NGO had sought directions to accelerate the process of acquisition of structures coming in the alignment of the road. While the authorities filed status reports from time to time, in the latest report, they pointed out the difficulties, which they were facing in carrying out the project.
As per the report, there are still 23 structures to be acquired on the road stretch, which includes 13 cases of compulsory acquisition for which the process has to be set in motion by the Collectorate of land acquisition”. As many as 11 structures are creating bottlenecks at Khayam, Khanyar, and Rainawari Chowk.