Inordinate delay hits completion of Athwajan-Vethpora bridge

Srinagar, Feb 16: Slow pace of work on the Athwajan-Vethpora bridge has evoked resentment among the locals.

Locals said that only six labourers are working on the project. “At the same time, it seems concerned officials are also in deep slumber and are least bothered to supervise the ongoing work and direct contractor to expedite the work,” they said.

Bilal Ahmad Mir, a local said that despite passing of eight years, the Jammu and Kashmir Projects Construction Corporation (JKPCC) has failed to complete Athwajan-Soiteng bridge here.

“Recently, the Deputy Commissioner Srinagar Muhammad Aijaz Assad directed authorities to complete the project by February end. However, the contractor has pressed just four to six labourers. By this way, it will take more than two years to complete,” he said.

The locals said that authorities must direct the contractor deploy sufficient number of labourers so that left-out work is completed within shortest possible time.

Ghulam Hassan Bhat, a local said that the work on the project was started in 2010. “The government had assured us that the bridge would be completed in four years. In view of the importance of the bridge, people living on two sides of Jhelum in the area extended cooperation to the authorities. Ironically, they failed to complete the project within the stipulated time,” he said.

Locals fear that due to snail’s pace of work on the project, the construction of the bridge will be further delayed. The project has already missed several deadlines. After public pressure, authorities had re-fixed the deadline as December 2017 and then again extended it for few months.

“Now, we are in 2022 and the project is still incomplete,” rued locals.

The locals urged the government to direct concerned authorities to ensure completion of the bridge at the earliest.

Official documents reveal that inordinate delay in construction of Athwajan-Vethpara bridge over Jhelum has escalated the project cost from Rs 720 lakhs to Rs 1359 lakhs. The construction of double lane bridge over river Jhelum at Soiteng was sanctioned under NAMBARD RIDF XV at a cost of Rs 720 lakhs and its execution was entrusted to JKPCC.

General Manager JKPCC Showkat Ahmad said “there were some hindrances and issues which have been sorted out.” “Now, work will be expedited. Number of men and machinery will also be increased to complete the project within stipulated time,” he said while replying to a query.

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