The inhabitants of Batchatri village in Handwara are suffering for want a bridge over Mawer Nallah in North Kashmir's Kupwara district. The absence of the bridge puts the residents to lot of difficulties as every time they need to go to Handwara town they either have to cross over the rivulet on a narrow wooden plank, which at times is risky, or take a long root.
"The young somehow manage to cross the rivulet, but thepatients, kids, older persons suffer a lot as they cannot cross the rivulet ondaily basis," said Jabar Ahmad.
If the bridge would be constructed it will cut short thelong hour distance to few minutes and connect dozens of villages to Handwaratown. "Due to communication constraints we are deprived of the basic emergencyservices like the fire tenders and ambulances in times of need," Jabar said.
Last month, a woman and her daughter had a narrow escapewhile crossing the river. "They were immediately rescued by locals," he said.
"It has become a death trap for us as in last few years welost three of our loved ones to this river," he said.
Over the years, scores of men and women have sustainedinjuries and fractures while crossing over the rivulet on a wooden plank inabsence of this bridge.
"There are so many incidents of injuries to mostly childrenand women, such accidents could have been avoided, if this bridge had beenconstructed," the locals said.
People prefer to stay at home rather than risking theirlives during heavy rains. Several villagers get stuck in their homes duringflash floods and heavy rains, as it becomes difficult to cross over the riveron a wooden plank.
According to the locals, Roads and Buildings department(R&B) has failed to construct bridge for decades.
A local resident told Greater Kashmir that demand for abridge in the village was pending since 1947 but "no government till date hasbeen able to construct a bridge."
"All politicians, bureaucrats, and even concerned MLAs paiddeaf ear to our demands and nothing has changed on the ground," said Tariq Ahmad.
The bridge, if constructed, would connect many villagesincluding Utingro, Tantray Gund and other villages.
Locals said that every day, dozens of students, employees,labourers, and patients cross the stream on risk and when it rains it becomes'dreadful' life for us.When contacted additional deputy commissionerHandwara Gulzar Ahmad said he had asked the residents to file application oftheir demand. "Once they will file the application for bridge, I can forward itaccordingly to the higher ups for the approval," he said.