Constructed over 23 years and opened for traffic in 2015, the bridge was termed a ‘pillar of development’ by Mufti Sayeed
Sopore: The Sopore Bypass Bridge, which took 23 years to complete till 2015 when Mufti Sayeed opened it for traffic, has again developed big cracks.
Sayeed had in his speech at the inauguration of the bridge termed it the “first pillar of development” laid by the PDP-BJP coalition. However, like its construction years, the bridge is again mired in controversies as people question the safety of operating vehicles on the conduit.
“First it took 23 years to build, too long for any project. Just six months into its inauguration, the bridge was closed – from– for the conduct of a ‘road test’, which raised many doubts. The road test should have been done before the bridge was opened for traffic.
In February 2016, big cracks started developing in the middle of the bridge following which the bridge was closed for survey between February 27 to March 10. Beacon, the agency responsible for the maintenance of the bridge, had said that norms were flaunted for the bridge as pressure from higher authorities had made them open the bridge without proper safety tests.
Kashmir Reader tried to contact Beacon but the agency didn’t respond to repeated calls.
Zakir Khan, 37, a businessman who travels every day on Sopore bridge told Kashmir Reader that Sopore town has been ignored by every government in power, whether it was National conference, Congress or PDP because of the town’s pro-freedom reputation. “When Mufti Sayeed came into power, he thought this is the best opportunity to gain support in Sopore. In a rush to showcase its development credentials, he inaugurated the bridge without having it checked properly, risking the lives of thousands of commuters,” Khan said.
Fayaz Ahmad Malik, Ex president of Sopore fruit Mandi, said that Sopore Bypass Bridge was vital for business in Sopore, but the condition of the bridge was such that fruit trucks found the bridge unsafe.
Haji Abdul Rashid Dar, MLA Sopore, said that he failed to understand what made the coalition government throw the bridge open as it was not fit for use. He said it was like risking lives of people and asked for investigation into the case. “I will also raise this issue in the assembly, whenever I will get a chance,” he said.
Additional Deputy Commissioner of Sopore, Khursheed Ahmad Shah, said that his office was preparing a report about the damages appearing in the bridge. “I came to know about the damages today. I visited the spot, and I will immediately report this to the higher authorities. Hopefully they are going to start an investigation into this matter as soon as possible,” he said.