SRINAGAR: Construction of drainage system at Regal Chowk here is going on at a snail’s pace, severely affecting vehicular movement and business in the city centre.
Work on this project was started in June 2017, but was stopped for around two months immediately after it began. Since then, the project was resumed for a few days and then stopped again while the authorities give lame excuses, rued traders’ body, Kashmir Traders and Manufacturers’ Federation (KTMF).
“Delay in completion of the drainage system is taking a heavy toll on our business. Our customers have to face a lot of inconvenience to come here, and that has resulted in the major downfall of the market. People prefer to go to other markets rather than face inconvenience here,” said a local shopkeeper.
The shopkeepers said the authorities should have carried out work in double shifts on this project. “But they have failed to maintain even a single shift, and that delayed the completion.”
KTMF spokesperson, Farhan Kitab said the construction of the drainage was slow from the beginning.
“Plus it brought with it many problems. The city centre is in such a bad condition, the roads were in shambles, the pipes were on walkways supposed to be free for pedestrians but occupied instead by huge pipes and construction material. Even the water logging in the area has become a new normal, and it has only added to the traffic congestion in this already-busy market,” Kitab said.
“People have got injured due to the construction, plus the delay has only irked the traders’ body,” Kitab continued. “There is a major decline in customers because of the persisting problems. If you call this the financial hub of the city, than take care of it accordingly as this is also the city’s major tourist attraction. Seeing the hub in such condition will only create a bad impression of Kashmir, so we need to take the matter seriously and urge the authorities to finish the pending work as soon as possible”.
Walking through the area, one picks one’s way around pipes dumped by the concerned department on footpaths and by the road, giving a dirty look to the busy market. Manholes are open, and the drainage construction has caused potholes. Some school children have suffered injuries while crossing the construction site; a shopkeeper even fell into a ditch and ended up with a fractured foot.
When Kashmir Reader contacted Executive Engineer, City Drainage, Srinagar Municipal Corporation, Imitiyaz Qazi, he said, “Until the work on the dewatering station near Khidmat Complex on the bund is done, water problems in the area will remain. We have macdamised the stretch from Linz restaurant to Ahdoos Hotel, and the remaining will be done hopefully in 15 days, subject to favorable conditions. We regret the inconvenience caused, but construction in the city hub is a big deal as we have to look after so many things. Hopefully the drainage will be completely in working condition by September and the dewatering station by the end of this year, hopefully.”