Srinagar: Last month, residents of Habba Kadal decided to intervene in a forceful manner when an inauguration of the renovated old Habba Kadal bridge turned into a match between National Conference and PDP.
The bridge was scheduled to be inaugurated by Roads and Buildings minister Altaf Bukhari on 6 September at 9am. A plaque was erected on the bridge, which mentioned the names of Bukhari, Habba Kadal MLA Shameema Firdous, PDP MLC Khurshid Alam and Housing minister Ashraf Mir.
Shameema, an NC legislator, objected to the names of Alam, a former employee union leader who unsuccessfully fought elections from Khanyar constituency and Mir, who belongs to Sonwar constituency. The plaque was removed by the Jammu and Kashmir Project Construction Corporation Limited (JKPCC), which was the nodal agency for the renovation.
However, a day before the scheduled inauguration, Shameema, accompanied by her party workers, threw open the bridge.
“Altaf Bukhari asked Shameema why she inaugurated the bridge a day ahead of the official date. But madam (Shameema) was annoyed by the names of Alam and Mir on the stone,” a source said.
The “unofficial inauguration” angered Bukhari, who asked the JKPCC to close down the bridge for public movement until its official inauguration. Kashmir Reader learnt that Bukhari also called Shameema, informing her that chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed would inaugurate the bridge during his tour of the city before Eid.
“Both sides of the bridge were fenced off with tin sheets,” a local resident said.
A closed bridge in the midst of a traffic nightmare on Eid eve angered the local residents, who removed the tin sheets and restored traffic over it. One of the oldest bridges of the old city, Habba Kadal bridge cost Rs 3.6 crore for renovations.