Bandipora shrine craving for road connectivity

Greater Kashmir

A famous Sufi shrine of Baba Dawood Khaki (RA), locally known as Cxoar-Yaar or four friends shrine has been craving for a road connectivity for a long time in Brar village of North Kashmir’s Bandipora.

According to the locals, the renowned shrine which is located on a hillock, is flocked by devotee’s coming from every corner of the valley and outside too, but having no proper road makes it extremely difficult for them to reach the shrine. The hillock also offers a stunning view of Wullar lake and a proper road could enhance its tourism potential. Surprisingly, during the last three years, work on two roads to the shrine was started, however, both were left unfinished. Villagers say that both the roads were constructed by the Block Development Department, but the contractors haven’t been paid as the authorities have disowned the works.

“In 2018 work on the first road was started only to be abandoned midway,” Ghulam Mohiuddin Sofi, an elderly villager said. Later in 2019, work on another road to the shrine was initiated only to meet the same fate. The local contractor claims to have been paid nothing and his liability is over 32 lakh, Mohiuddin added.

The slippery road and loose boulders make the uphill walk very dangerous for pilgrims. “It is difficult for devotees to climb to the shrine without a proper road. Few years back we were happy that our long-pending demand is being fulfilled but the excitement proved short lived,” Ghulam Mohammad the secretary of the shrine committee said.

A group of devotees from Bandipora village which included women and children also expressed their resentment over non-completion of the road. “During our travel, I literally crawled while going up and down the hill. Entire journey to the shrine is very risky,” a woman among the group said.

However, on inquiring about the reason for not completing any of the roads, the Assistant Commissioner Development (ACD) Bandipora, Abdul Rashid, didn’t own any responsibility. He said that they don’t know who approved the roads while blaming Panchayat for doing the works on their own.  “A contractor is repeatedly requesting for money for some work done there but he has failed to provide any work order and has no documents to prove it,” he said.

ACD also said that a ‘directorate level inquiry’ has been initiated in the issue. Deputy Commissioner Bandipora, Owais Ahmad said that he will look into the matter.