BUDGAM: Thousands of people in dozens of villages in Central Kashmir’s Beerwah area are up in arms against the Public Works Department (PWD) over its failure to provide an alternative diversion plan for vehicles after last week’s collapse of a bridge over a canal.
Almost four months have elapsed since the PWD had declared the bridge unsafe for traffic movement, but the department has still not found an alternative route, creating anxiety among the people of the area.
The bridge was the sole means of communication between thousands of villages with Beerwah sub-division.
“The bride over a canal flowing through the outskirts of Chewdara village was already declared unsafe in December last year and has collapsed due to the fast-moving water beneath it last week. Traffic movement of the area has now come to a standstill,” rued a local, Ghulam Mohammad Dar.
With one side of the bridge collapsed, commuters on both sides are in difficulties for reaching their respective destinations. But the worst sufferers are the students of the area both the sides of the bridge.
“As schools, higher secondary schools and the degree college sit on the other side of the collapsed bridge, thousands of small children and other students of different villages are taking risks and facing serious difficulty while going to their institutions, passing through the collapsed bridge,” Dar said.
“Moreover, farmers from the villages are facing great problems in carrying their daily requirements on their shoulders,” said a student, Iqrar Rashid Dev. He added that serious patients, especially pregnant women, living in these villages are facing the worst situation as they cannot go to the hospital located at Beerwah.
Villagers of both sides are in great need of an alternative diversion till another new concrete bridge is be constructed by the department.
Assistant Executive Engineer Roads and Buildings, Beerwah, Abdul Quyoom said, while talking to Kashmir Reader, “I admit that four months have passed since the bridge was declared unsafe for traffic movement, but the diversion could not be made possible in the meantime.
“We had talked to the landowner from whose property we had planned to take the alternative route,” he said, adding that the owner of the land had at first agreed and then had, at the eleventh hour, refused to provide the land for the cause.
He further added that the land owner had demanded money and a protection wall as well, which was not possible for the department because “we have limited funds for the execution of work”.
“Earlier we offered him 5,000 per year and now we are offering him 18,000 per year through the village welfare committee, but he is not able to come on terms till date, which is the only hurdle in carrying out the work,” Quyoom said.
“I have written to Sub-district Magistrate Beerwah and the Tehsildar for the further process and hope that the response would be positive and work will start soon.”