A decade on, Mazbugh bridge nowhere in sight

A decade on, Mazbugh bridge nowhere in sight
GK Photo

Baramulla, Jan 15: A vital bridge at Mazbug area that would connect Sopore town with Rafiabad area in north Kashmir's is yet to see the light of the day despite passage of around one decade, causing multiple traffic snarls on the spot.

Once the bridge gets completed, it will connect Baramulla, Rafiabad and other areas with Sopore town, including the Sopore fruit Mandi.

An official said the bridge was approved under NABARD scheme in 2013 and was handed over to the Jammu and Kashmir Project Construction Corporation (JKPCC) to execute the construction of the project.

However, a decade has passed, but the bridge is yet to be completed as the JKPCC- the executing agency has suspended the work on it thus further delaying the completion of the project.

"The bridge was approved for the area to get rid of the traffic mess near the area as only one vehicle can pass through the existing narrow (single lane) bridge," said Mehraj Ahmad, a local resident. "The existing bridge was constructed in the early 1970's," he said.

A visit to the spot reveals that only a half pillar has been erected on the spot while rest of the work on the bridge has not been taken up in all these years, exposing the poor execution of work by the executing agency.

The JKPCC has suspended the work on the bridge which has left the residents and commuters anguished.

"The work on the bridge continued for some years and later it was left in a midway for unknown reasons," said Zubair Ahmad, another resident of the area.

The bridge, if completed, will provide an easy alternative route to commuters travelling from Sopore to Baramulla, Nadihal, Chakloo, Tragpora and Vice Versa.

People by and large have expressed their disappointment over the delay in completion of the bridge noting that the executing agencies should be made accountable for poor performance in execution of the work on such vital projects.

"For the last around 10 years, there has been no headway in the execution of the work. In the last 10 years, the executing agency has been able to erect only a half pillar of the bridge," said a local resident while pointing to the construction site.

Deputy General Manager JKPCC Baramulla, Masood Ahmad Gangoo acknowledged that the work on the bridge was suspended for several years.

"We floated tenders to complete three times but it got zero response from the contractors," he said.

He said the project cost of the Mazbug bridge was around Rs 7 crores out of which Rs 5.85 crores were received from the government. "We floated tenders to start the work on the balance amount but we did not get any response due to which the work remained suspended on the bridge," he said.

He however said the tenders received zero response as they were floated as per rates of 2012.

"Now we have written to the Managing director that the fresh tenders must be issued as per the 2022 rates which can help us to get some response and work will be resumed on the bridge," Gangoo said.

He said the decision will be taken after convening a contract committee meeting and tenders will be floated afresh.

"If the tenders will get the response we will be at least able to complete the bridge and work on the approach road may remain pending which can be taken up in the second phase," he said.

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