The inordinate delay in constructing the Pandrethan Bridge has resulted in the sufferings to the people, who have called for the early completion of the bridge over Jhelum, which is critical for their connectivity.
The locals from the areas including Soiteng, Lasjan, Padshahibagh, Athwajan, Pandrethan, Batwara, and Sonawar lamented over the government’s lackadaisical approach towards the construction of bridge.
The residents also alleged authorities of showing indifferent attitude towards the people.
“The construction work on the bridge was started in the year 2009 and was scheduled to complete in 2013.
The locals said that in the absence of the bridge, they are facing immense hardships to reach to the other side of the embankment.
“The authorities have failed to fulfill their promises,” said Bashir Ahmad, a local said resident.
“The construction work is moving at snail’s pace. Every time the locals raise the issue of the slow pace, the authorities would give different excuses. Sometimes the work is completely stopped for days and to befool people, authorities would employ one or two laborers to give the impression that the work is underway,” another local said.
To commute on daily basis, Soiteng residents often have to risk their lives by boarding overcrowded fishing boats to cross the river at Batwara.
While revealing their ordeal the locals said that initially they demanded construction of a pedestrian bridge at Syed Abad Soiteng, which was the shortest distance to reach to the other side of the river but government skipped the proposal citing security reasons.
An official at Jammu and Kashmir Projects Construction corporation ( JKPCC) said that after taking nearly two years in deciding the location for the construction of the Bridge, the construction work on 120 meters double lane bridge at Pandrethan was started in 2012 but lost pace due to the lack of funds.
“Out of a total project cost of 13.33 crores, only 6.65 crores were released until last financial year which delayed the construction work. The funds were released through National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD)”, he said.
He also said that the construction work was stalled due to non-availability of funds but we have managed to complete the major portion of the bridge.
“80% of the construction work is complete and the remaining 20% will be finished by the end of this year,” he said.
The bridge connects areas like Lasjan, Soiteng, and Padshahibagh to the Srinagar via National Highway.