Anantnag: Even as the widening of the Srinagar-Qazigund national highway is missing deadline after deadline, several stretches of the highway that have not been included in the widening project are deteriorating by the day.
The highway widening project was started in June 2011. It was scheduled to be completed within three years. The company entrusted with the project, RAMKY, a Hyderabad-based construction company, has not only missed several deadlines but has also been found wanting in the task of maintenance of the existing road.
While most of the Srinagar-Qazigund road has been constructed afresh, some stretches along the highway were by-passed and not widened. These stretches include Khannabal-Bijbehara; Bijbehara-Sangam; Awantipora-Barsoo; and Gaelandar-Pampore.
The maintenance of these stretches will be the responsibility of the Roads & Buildings Department only after the project is handed back to the government.
“Till then, RAMKY is supposed to maintain these stretches,” sources at the R&B Department told Kashmir Reader.
The pathetic condition of these roads, meanwhile, is causing much hassle to commuters. They say that even the new Gaelandar-Nowgam by-pass has not come as a help.
“No time is saved by the by-pass, as road conditions in Bijbehara and Awantipora are bad,” said Imtiyaz Ahmad, a daily commuter.
Residents of areas along these ill-maintained parts of the highway rue the government’s exclusive attention on the newly constructed road.
“You can see how many potholes the roads have and how haphazardly the patch-work has been done, only to hoodwink the general public,” said Gulzar Ahmad, a resident of Bijbehara.
People are also questioning the untimely patch-work being done on these stretches in sub-zero temperatures. “They lay the patches and the poor black-topping comes off the next day. It is clear that the RAMKY is being callous in its work,” a group of Bijbehara residents said.
Vice President (VP) of RAMKY, Ayaz Hussain, acknowledged that the maintenance of these stretches falls within the jurisdiction of his company, for now.
“I won’t be able to comment, though, on the issue right now. I am in Delhi and I have a meeting to attend,” he told Kashmir Reader over phone.