Government awaiting World Bank aid, people having to wade through water
Kulgam: More than four major bridges that connected dozens of villages in south Kashmir’s Kulgam district are yet to be re-constructed after they were destroyed in the 2014 floods.
Many bridges in Kulgam district were washed away in the floods of September 2014. Some of them have been re-constructed and traffic is plying over them, but for some the government has not even given out a tender for reconstruction. The government is waiting for World Bank aid to re-construct these vital links.
The bridges include the 38-meter link at Dembdello, connecting Dembdello, Buchroo, Frisal and several other villages to main town Kulgam; a 20-meter bridge at Chambgund connecting Chambgund, Batpora, Grasun and other villages; the 15-meter bridge at Adigatnu connecting Adigatnu, Laisoo and some other villages to thw main town and other villages; and the 40-meter bridge at Asthal on the outskirts of Kulgam town.
All these villages are facing acute hardships in wake of no or poor connectivity with the main town and the neighboring villages. The worst hit are Dembdello and Asthal villages, which have literally become islands. Residents have to walk through water to go out of their village.
“If the water levels rises after rainfall, we remain confined to our homes,” said Mohammad Shaban, a resident of Dembdello village.
The lack of connectivity is also affecting the education of children. “Every now and then they have to skip school when it is difficult for them to cross the stream,” said another resident of Dembdello, Parvez Ahmad.
The government, meanwhile, is awaiting the response to the letter it has sent to the World Bank asking for aid. Executive Engineer Roads and Buildings (R&B), Kulgam, Muhammad Yousuf Tramboo told Kashmir Reader, “The major bridges in Kulgam district have already been constructed. Yes, the ones you are talking about need to be constructed and the government has written to the World Bank for that.”
He said that Dembdello was the worst affected village in the district. “We are planning to construct a temporary diversion, because the village has remained completely cut off. I hope that will be sanctioned soon,” Tramboo said.