Rajouri: Even after around six years, the work on the vital project of Badala Mang Bridge in Rajouri town is in limbo, denying direct connectivity between Panjpeer and lower Jawahar Nagar.
The work, which started in 2016, was stopped after the army flagged its ‘trespassing’ concern arising out of the bridge's alignment.
Delay in the resumption of construction work has not just upset the residents but has also resulted in cost escalation of the project.
However, Deputy Commissioner (DC) Rajouri Vikas Kundal sounds quite reassuring as he maintains that the talks with the army on this issue are in the final stages and all bottlenecks will be cleared very soon.
The bridge referred to as 'Badala Mang Bridge' was one among four new bridges which were started in Rajouri town six years ago to give a push to alternate links to main roads and also to ease rising traffic congestion within the main town.
As per details available with Greater Kashmir, the project was named a “double-lane bridge over Rajouri Tawi River” that was aimed to provide direct connectivity between the Panjpeer area and Badala Mang, located on its (river’s) two sides.
Officials told Greater Kashmir that as per the approved model and technical specifications, this will be a “4X40 meter span bridge of
prestressed concrete box girder.” The project was approved under the Central Roads Fund (CRF).
They informed that the foundation stone for this bridge project was laid on August 2, 2016, by the then J&K Minister for Public Works Department (PWD) Abdul Rehman Veeri, in presence of his then cabinet colleagues Chowdhary Zulfkar Ali, Abdul Ghani Kohli, and the then Minister of State Sunil Sharma, the then MLC Vibodh Gupta besides district administration officials.
“The project authority is the Public Works Department (Roads and Buildings department) while the project executing agency is JKPCC,” officials stated.
They said, “After the foundation stone of this project was laid in 2016, immediately the work was started. The pillars of the bridge were constructed but when they were nearing completion, the army authorities raised objections over the bridge alignment mentioning that some portion of the bridge alignment was moving towards the Army camp which would cause trespassing. Following this objection, the work was stalled. It is yet to resume.”
“For the last five years, work on the bridge has not resumed. Delay has not only caused a dilemma for locals but is expected to result in cost-escalation also,” official sources said.
They stated that multiple attempts were made to resolve this matter through consultations with the army but to no use.
“This bridge was approved to improve circular road connectivity of Rajouri town and to ease the congestion. It was to connect Jammu-Poonch highway at Panjpeer directly with Badala Mang and lower Jawahar Nagar,” officials said, adding that bridge after completion was expected to reduce traffic congestion in Rajouri town multiple times.
“We are still in a stage of uncertainty though with the hope that this bridge will be constructed. But this wait is not over yet,” Chander Kumar, a local, said.
He said, “Entire Rajouri town is reeling under traffic congestion. This bridge was part of a circular road connectivity plan. It could have reduced traffic congestion by over thirty percent.”
“We demand that this bridge should be constructed at the earliest to facilitate smooth movement in a congestion-free environment on roads,” Afaq Mirza of Rajouri said.
Deputy Commissioner Rajouri Vikas Kundal, when contacted by Greater Kashmir, said, “The matter of this project has been taken up with army authorities and we are expecting a breakthrough very soon.”
“I cannot share much detail but would like to inform you that our communication with the army has remained successful and the clearance process related to this bridge is in its final stage. We are expecting something good very soon,” the DC Rajouri said.