Sinking drain on Sonwar highway a death trap for riders

A major portion of highway near Sonwar has caved in due to engineering flaw in the drain constructed by Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) for extricating GB Pant Hospital’s drainage outflow to River Jhelum.

The caving in of road on Highway in front of G B Hospital has led to several accidents on the spot as vehicles moving towards Sonwar fell in the crater created there due to sinking of drainage.

The spot as per locals has been total failure and a death trap for drivers. This drainage was constructed to channelize the outflow of hospital sewage through drain to River Jhelum.

On September 12, 2019, a 29-year- old resident of Shivpora was killed on spot as he alongwith his relative were moving on bike towards Sonwar.

Waseem Ahmad Bhat of Shivpora was run over by a tanker after he fell down on the same spot where this crater is evident today.

Wasim’s uncle Muhammad Abbas Bhat had lodged a criminal complaint against the officials but due no action has been taken against the engineers or contractors involved in construction of this flawed drain.

“Waseem was elder son of my brother who has undergone massive stress after his death. Our family had lodged complaint with concerned officials but no action was taken against those who established this drain on highway,” said Abbass, a resident of nearby Shivpora.

In order to prevent more accidents, some person has erected temporary stick with coloured plastic sheet over it indicating danger ahead on the road.

“More people have fallen in this death trap but some were lucky and some were not. The accidents are grim reminders of how close death can be while travelling on this road,” said Mushtaq Ahmad, a daily commuter on this route.

This reporter approached Cantonment Board and UEED to gauge information about the drainage flaw but was told that it was constructed by SMC’s City Drainage Wing.

“This is a death trap which has claimed lots of human life. This is a grave negligence on part of authorities,” said Ghulam Rasool, a local while pointing towards to dilapidated portion of roadside.

Locals of Sonwar, Batwara and Shivpora said that the crater appeared after the drain was constructed.

“Sometimes, we see some persons (government department) filling it temporary with sand and stones. But that filing does not last a long. It needs permanent repairing to save precious human lives,” said a group of locals.

Chief Executive Officer Badamibagh Board said that his office has taken up the matter with officials, asking them to repair the damaged portion caused due to construction of drain.

“We have sent them a reminder and will also send a fresh reminder,” he said.

City Drainage SE Muhammad Ahsan ul Haq said that the damaged portion will be repaired on priority.

“This has not come into my notice till date. I will personally visit the place and get it done on priority,” he said.