Bandipora, Apr 1: The bad condition of roads leading to a tourist spot, Athwatoo, in north Kashmir's Bandipora district keeps it inaccessible to picnickers and tourists.
With the easing of the COVID-19 restrictions and arrival of the spring, the spot which would be thronged by the visitors for a picnic a few years back is witnessing a deserted look. The tourist place is 12 kms from the district headquarters.
"It is tough to even ply on the two-wheelers, the journey is backbreaking, " Unbair Yousuf, a local from Bandipora said.
Not only this, the place which though having a tourist facilitation centre functional for some years is hardly witnessing any influx, the caretakers not wishing to be named said.Locals from the Athwatoo expressed their displeasure by stating that the bad condition of roads is keeping tourists at bay and hardly anyone is seen staying by.
Not only this, at least a dozen small as well as big villages falling on the road are fed up “with the slow pace of work on the road being executed by the Roads and buildings department (R&B) under the Central Road Fund (CRF).”
These include Ahatmulla, Ahamshareef, (where a famous shrine of Makhdoom Sahab RA is located), Arampora, Bilal Colony, Kawthar, Guzarbal, Panaar, Upper Panaar, Triwot, Athwatoo and Tangath.
In the project, as per the officials around 18 kms of the road are to be macadamized, which involves components like drainage and other improvements. The project will renovate both the approach roads from Aajar to Athwatoo and Banakoot.
The work which began last year, the officials say will be complete by 2023 and as of now, they have been able to complete only about 40 percent of the work on the road.
The official cite reasons for the slow pace of work on the project as the hurdles in funding and the acquirement of the material.
"The issue related to funding has been resolved. However, the acquisition of the raw construction material is still a hurdle in Bandipora," Abdul Qayoom, the R&B executive engineer of Bandipora said. "We will try to macadamize at least 8-10 kms by this year,” he said.