The construction work on Dogripora Awantipora bridge still awaits completion despite its construction work being started ten years back.
Notably, construction work on the bridge was started in 2007 when Congress-PDP combine was ruling the state. The work was inaugurated by the then MoS PWD and Present MLA Pulwama Mohammad Khalil Bandh. The estimated cost of the of the bridge was 9 crore 78 lakh and the project was handed over to Jammu and Kashmir Projects and Construction Corporation (JKPCC).
“This bridge on river Jehlum will connect more than one dozens villages of Pulwama district to the National highway. This bridge can also connect dozens of villages to Railway station Panzgam,” said Shakoor Ahmad, a local resident.
Locals said that soon after initiating construction work on the bridge in year 2007, the department left the work midway without any reason.
“Only about 10% of the project was completed,” added Shakoor Ahmad.
The locals added that they were hopeful that work on the bridge might start soon, however, ten years have passed on, the department has not completed half of the project yet, with the result the local population continues to face hardships.
Locals alleged that JKPCC starts construction work on the bridge once in a year for 10 to 20 days in summer season then the work is again stopped without any reason.
Locals added that to reach on national highway, they have to cross river Jehlum through a boat and when water level of Jehlum is high, they fear to cross it through boat and then they have to travel about 5 Kms to reach the national highway.
Importantly, the areas that would be connected by the Dogripora bridge do not have a regular public transport service.
“The lack of transport service takes a heavy toll on the local population. Every year many people even die on way to the hospital as we have to take a long route to reach hospitals or the National Highway to shift any patient during emergencies,” Muzammil Hussain, another local said.
Shakeel Ahmad a resident of Dogripora said that students and patients mostly suffer during morning and evening hours as the boatman is not available during this time.
When contacted, Deputy Managing Director, JKPCC and in-charge JKPCC district Pulwama Mohammad Hussain Dar, said that the construction work was stopped due to paucity of funds.
“We have taken the construction of this bridge on priority basis and the department has fixed December 2018 as the deadline to complete the project,” Dar said.
District Development Commissioner Pulwama, Ghulam Mohammad Dar was not available for his comments despite repeated calls.