Eight years on Kelam-Ashmuji Bridge far from completion

Eight years on Kelam-Ashmuji Bridge far from completion
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Kulgam: Much to the dismay of people, the Kelam-Ashmuji Bridge over Vaishaw Nallah in Kulgam district remains far from completion, more than eight years after work was first started on it.
After being sanctioned in 2008, the work on the bridge was started in 2010 with an aim to connect dozens of villages to each other and to the highway as well.
The locals allege that the work has been going on at a snail’s pace, even as the villagers continue to suffer and take longer routes for travel-affecting their time as well as pockets.
The bridge, estimated at a revised cost of around 14.57 Crore Rupees, is around 385 meters long and based on 11 spans, out of which only three are near completion.
The villagers told Kashmir Reader that not only would have the bridge connected them to the other villages, it would have also cut their travelling time to highway considerably.
“Right now we have to take longer routes, through Qaimoh and through Pahloo to reach the national highway and it takes us more than an hour to reach there. With completion of the bridge our travelling time to NH would have been curtailed by more than 40 minutes,” Muhammad Ishaq, a local of Ashmuji told Kashmir Reader. He said that the villagers have been requesting the concerned authorities to speed up the work, but to no avail.
The executing agency, Jammu and Kashmir Projects Construction Corporation (JKPCC), maintains that it will take at least another eight months for the bridge to complete.
“I joined recently and found that the work had been suspended for six months,” Deputy General Manager (DGM) JKPCC, Hussain Dar told Kashmir Reader.
He said that the work was started and a requisition for funds has been forwarded to the government.
“Hopefully the funds will be released. Nevertheless we are working and we hope three spans will be completed in a couple of months from now and that will partially ease the difficulties of the locals,” Dar said.
Asked how long would the completion of the bridge take, Dar said it would take at least 8 months, provided work is done on a consistent basis. “If we spare a month to one span by that calculation it will be ready in November,” Dar said.
Deputy Commissioner Kulgam, Sajjad Hussain, said he visited the spot and has asked the JKPCC to speed up the work.
“There was paucity of funds on the project but now we have been assured that funds will be released and work will go on smoothly. It will be completed in a time bound manner,” he said.