Kupwara, Jan 1: The tall claims of the successive governments in past about improving basic infrastructure in rural areas fell flat in this remote district of Kashmir as over a dozen bridges await completion for the last two decades.
The residents are anguished over inordinate delay in completion of bridges in their respective areas. The incompletion of the projects has been giving them a really tough time all through these years.
The people are disheartened and have left hope of seeing these projects completed because of the false promises made by different dispensations over the period of time.
According to details available with this newspaper, over 12 bridges await completion which are being constructed in different areas including Mawar, Rajwar, Kralpora, Terhgam, Lolab and Keran area.
The Tumina-Chowkibal bridge over Nallah Kehmil has been under construction for over two decades but is still incomplete due to reasons best known to authorities.
The people of the area said that the construction of this bridge was started in 1999 but after the passage of 23 years, the bridge is yet to be completed.
They said that the bridge was to be completed at an estimated cost of Rs 8.50 crore. However, the slow pace of work can be gauged from the fact that only a few pillars have been constructed till date.
“The delay in the completion of this important project is causing immense problems to the inhabitants, including women and school going children living on the either side of the Kehmil Nallah as they have to walk for miles to cross the Nallah at another bridge and only then they reach Chowkibal,” the locals said.
The residents said that the bridge once completed would connect several villages together including Chowkibal, Reddi, Zuna Rishi, Tumina, Marsari, Rangwar, Harfada, Ramhal, Hachamarg, Fullmarg and Karnah.
The tale of the Aloosa bridge over Nallah Kehmil is not different. The foundation stone for the of this bridge was laid by the then Chief Minister Omar Abdullah in 2009.
“At that time Omar Abdullah directed officials to complete the bridge within two years but after the passage of 13 years only two abutments have been constructed. The abutments have now started to diminish because of the official neglect,” Mohammad Shareef, a local told Greater Kashmir.
Due to the disastrous flood of 2010, the bridge at Bangergund on the Nallah Kehmil was severely damaged following which it was declared unsafe for the movement. Later the Roads and Buildings (R&B) Department took over work on a new bridge. Twelve years have passed since then; the bridge has not been completed yet.
The bridge has greater importance because it connects dozens of Ramhall villages to Trehgam and Kupwara. The locals are anguished over the slow pace of work on the bridge.
One more bridge being constructed over Nallah Kehmil at Kunan Poshpora also faces official neglect. The foundation stone for the construction of this bridge was laid 20 years ago and later work was also started but after the passage of 20 long years people are waiting for its completion. The bridge once complete will connect dozens of villages.
The condition of the under-construction bridges over Nallah Pohru at Check Durgamulla and Nagri is not different from other bridges. The people in these villages use boats to cross the Nallah and reach their respective destinations.
The work on two under construction bridges over different rivulets was started five years ago in Keran sector but there is no headway with regard to completion of the bridges, resulting in severe hardships to the inhabitants.
The residents of Rajwar in Handwara Sub District are also anguished over inordinate delay in completion of Behnipora and Ahgam bridges.
The residents said that both the projects were sanctioned several years ago but no concrete steps are being taken to accomplish the projects. They said that during the last several years, they have knocked at every concerned officer’s door but to no avail.
The people said that Behnipora bridge connects several villages and most importantly government higher secondary school happens to be on the other side of Nallah which makes it impossible for students to attend school amid high water level in the Butshungi Nallah.
The two bridges being constructed over Nallah Hud at Lone Harie and Kralpora are also incomplete. The construction work for these bridges was started 20 years ago but surprisingly have been left midway.
Deputy Commissioner Kupwara Dr Doifode Sagar Dattatray, said that he will personally look into the matter. “I will call a meeting with the executing agency to know the reasons behind the inordinate delay in completion of these bridges,” he said.