About 12 years have passed since the work on Bandipora-Lolab road was started; the project is still incomplete, residents say, blaming lackadaisical approach of authorities and successive regimes alike.
The 35-kilometer long road was approved and works taken up in 2007 at a cost of Rs 1.48 crore, but it was suspended in 2011 after forest department official raised objections as a part of it passed through a dense forest, official say.
The officials said that as part of the project roads and buildings department Bandipora completed cutting work on 5km stretch of the road between Binlipora and Ketsen.
"But following the objections raised by the forest department the work was suspended in 2011. The work was stopped from both sides, Bandipora as well as Lolab, an official admitted.
"Since then there has been no headway in the project owing to the lackadaisical approach of the successive regimes and concerned authorities."
In order to avoid damage to the forest, the R&B department had proposed the construction of a double-lane tunnel from Chechinar Bandipora to Anderbugh Lolab but this proposal too seems to have been shelved.
"The preliminary project report was submitted to the government in February 2016, but the project is yet to be approved due to lack of follow up by the district administration and the concerned department," another official said on condition of anonimity.
The road is envisaged to connect Bandipora with Kupwara to boost inter-district trade for economic uplift of people living in the border districts.
"But even after passing of 12 years there has been no headway in this project," a resident rued.
According to the documents available with Greater Kashmir, construction of the proposed tunnel could benefit a population of around 2.5 lakh souls in the two districts.
A senior district official said Lolab has only "one access to interact socially as well as commercially with other parts of Kashmir and that is via Kupwara."
"People have to cover almost 150 km to reach the capital city Srinagar through this route and in view of the long distance critical patients referred to Srinagar hospitals expire during the journey from Lolab."
The official said locals have been demanding a second access road to Srinagar via Bandipora since long.
Executive engineer R&B division Bandipora, Abdul Aziz said a preliminary project has been prepared and government was considering constructing a tunnel, but admitted no headway was made for the project.