6 years on, Athwatoo bridge incomplete

Six years have passed since the day authorities started the construction of bridge over Madhumati Nallah at Athwatoo village in this north Kashmir district but till date work has not been completed.
6 years on, Athwatoo bridge incomplete
GK Photo

Six years have passed since the day authorities started the construction of bridge over Madhumati Nallah at Athwatoo village in this north Kashmir district but till date work has not been completed. 

This village is without bridge since 1992 when it (bridge) was washed away by flash floods that hit the village.

Though the super structure of the bridge was completed last year at a cost of around Rs 1 crore it is without an approach road. 

According to locals the bridge is of no use as it is without approach road, due to which they are facing lot of inconvenience.

Locals told Greater Kashmir that the department has left the construction of the bridge over Madhumati Nallah midway. "After laying the deck slab the department left it midway as they are yet to construct the approach roads without which the bridge is useless," said Nazir Ahmad, a local resident.

He said, "The department took six years to construct the super structure of the bridge which speaks volumes about the callous attitude of the concerned department toward the miseries of the people. What is the fun of spending crores of rupees on the construction of the bridge when it cannot serve any purpose?" 

Pertinently, the bridge was to be constructed at a cost of Rs 174 lakhs out of which 84.99 lakh were for the construction of super structure and 89.16 lakh were for the construction of approach roads and walls.

Locals said the bridge connects the entire village, having a population of around 1500, with Bandipora and rest of Kashmir. 

"The construction works on the bridge was started in 2010 with the promise that it would be completed within a year but six years have passed since then, the bridge is yet to be completed," said another local resident, Muhammad Ismail Khan.

He said that successive regimes and local administration have failed to construct the bridge in order to mitigate the sufferings of the inhabitants of the village and its adjoining areas. "We have to still use the makeshift bridge to bring the daily use items to our homes and shift patients to the hospital. During winter season the makeshift bridge becomes slippery due to heavy snowfall in the area and it is risky to cross the bridge especially for women and children," he said.

When contacted Executive Engineer R&B Division Bandipora, Saleem Akhter Khan said due to lack of funds and liabilities construction work on the bridge has been left midway. "Bridge is almost complete but we have not received funds yet so that approach road could be constructed. There is still liability of 25 lakhs with government and this year we have only received Rs 7 lakh," he added.

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