Incomplete bridges belie claims of development in Budgam

Incomplete bridges belie claims of development in Budgam
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Budgam: There has been a prolonged delay in the construction of two main bridges in central Kashmir’s Budgam district causing great inconvenience to residents.
A bridge connecting Arwah to Wuhungam, Rathsun and dozens of villages was damaged a decade ago and work was also started few years back but the bridge is nowhere near completion.
Similarly work on another vital bridge connecting Sail-Rawathpora was started in 2010 but has not been completed yet thereby forcing people to travel long distances to reach their destinations.
The bridges fall in the constituencies of former chief minister Omar Abdullah and, MLA Hakeem Mohammad Yaseen.
Residents of Arwah and Rathsun are eagerly waiting for the bridge being constructed at the cost project of 3.04 crore to complete, in the absence of which they said, people on both sides of stream are facing immense problems.
“During the rainy season our schools going children can’t even reach schools because of this problem,” residents said.
“In case of an emergency we have to travel miles to reach hospital through alternative routes,” they rued.
The delay in reconstruction of the bridge has forced traffic to ply on incomplete and risk-prone tracks.
“The delay in completing this project speaks volumes about the tall claims of the concerned executing agency, Jammu and Kashmir Projects Construction Corporation Limited (JKPCC) ,” said Muhammad Ramzan, a local resident.
General manager JKPCC, Harkewal Singh admitted that the work on this project was going on for last few years.
“If proper funding is done the construction work will be completed by March 2019,” Singh added.
“There were two components in this project, one half was under NABARD and another additional span is under SDRF-state disaster response fund,” he added.
Meanwhile, work on the bridge connecting Sail-Rawathpora has been going on for the last eight years.
Due to the delay in its construction, residents said that they are facing tough time. “The women, farmers and even students studying in various institutes face difficulties every day,” said Khan Hilal, a villager.
“Government has failed to complete the work on stipulated time. It has been long time since the work on the bridge was started but the bridge is still incomplete,” Abdul Wahid, a shopkeeper said.
The incomplete bridges tell a sorry tale of governance despite the government receiving significant funds from the union government under the Prime Minister’s development package.
Locals rued that successive regimes have failed to complete the construction work on these bridges to mitigate the sufferings of the inhabitants.
“We have to still use the makeshift bridges or diversions to bring the daily use items to our homes and shift patients to the hospitals. During winter the makeshift bridges become slippery risky to cross especially for women and children,” they said.
Singh admitted that the work on the bridge was slow and said the main reason was lack of funds.
“The project cost of the Sail-Rawathpora bridge is 6.40 crore but almost a decade has passed by but we have only received 1.90 crore only,” Singh said.
“Once funds will be released, the work will be completed without any delay,” he added.