Kupwara, Oct 15: The absence of a concrete bridge at Bakiaker, Handwara is creating hardships for the residents of the area who accuse the authorities of being indifferent to their miseries.
The residents said that in 2014, flash floods damaged a pillar of the existing bridge following which traffic was suspended over it for several months.
“We approached the Roads and Buildings department, Handwara division many times for its repair as the locals had to take a long route via Wadipora to reach Bakiaker. The R&B repaired the old bridge but failed to construct the new one, much to the disappointment of the people,” locals said.
The residents said that only Light Motor Vehicles (LMVs) were allowed to ply over the bridge while the Heavy Motor Vehicles (HMVs) were forced to take the longer route to-and-fro.
The residents said that in several incidents of fire in their locality, many houses were completely gutted because the fire tenders could not reach in time.
“Had we not been deprived of the bridge, the fire tenders could have saved the houses from getting completely destroyed,” said a local. “The Bakiaker village which consists of more than 600 households is 5 km from Handwara town but the successive dispensations have failed to provide basic amenities to people here.”
Muhammad Saleem, a student said, “I am unable to figure out why despite the passage of eight long years, we have deprived of a bridge, which has multiplied our hardships.”
He said that when someone has to take construction material to the village, the truck drivers demand more money because of the longer route.
The residents said that the bridge once constructed would be a great bonus to the horticulture sector as most of the residents were dependent on orchards.
The locals said that they had several times taken up the issue with the concerned officials but to no avail.
They have now sought the intervention of Lieutenant Governor ManojSinha so that their long-pending demand is redressed at the earliest.
Meanwhile, a senior official at Roads and Buildings (R&B) Handwara division said that a Preliminary Project Report (PPR) regarding the construction of the bridge had been already forwarded to the Chief Engineer’s office but till now the project stood unapproved.