Authorities indifferent even as Sopore bypass bridge deteriorates further

Authorities indifferent even as Sopore bypass bridge deteriorates further
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SOPORE: Authorities are turning a blind eye to the dangers posed by deteriorating Sopore bypass bridge, which besides being a lifeline for Sopore and Kupwara is heavily used by fruit laden trucks.
The bridge opened for traffic in 2015 has been in news for wrong reasons right since its opening, which came 23 years after work was started on it.
The condition of the bridge has gone from bad to worse as the entire stretch of the bridge is riddled with big potholes. Iron rods apparently used in the construction have been exposed at several places. At some places, it appears that even cracks have developed.
Adding to the worries of the people is that the fact that the bridge had been closed briefly six months after it was opened in 2015, for some “road test”. At that time, Beacon had noted that the bridge had been opened without mandatory tests because of political pressure.
Mushtaq Ahmad Tantray, president of the Sopore fruit mandi said that the apple season was arriving and “we cannot manage our business if the bridge is in this situation”.
“The bridge is vital for our apple business, 300 to 350 trucks laden with apples arrive taking the same bridge, God forbid if anything happens, who will be responsible for it,” Tantray told Kashmir Reader.
The bridge has been constructed by Beacon, taking almost 23 years to complete it, and is maintained by them. However, even after Kashmir Reader reported about the alarming condition of the bridge last month, the authorities haven’t swung into action.
Operational Commander, Beacon, APS Khaira told Kashmir Reader that that he has been recently posted “here”.
“The Sopore bridge contract is under Beacon headquarters that has already put repair action in process and it will be soon be executed on the ground but it will better to contact the Beacon exchange for more details,” Khaira said.
Kashmir Reader tried to contact Beacon exchange but the agency did not respond to repeated calls.
Additional Deputy Commissioner of Sopore, Ashiq Hussain, who last month assured action on the issue, expressed ignorance this time.
“I have already written to R&B department about it,” Hussain said, but when told that the bridge was being maintained by Beacon, he expressed ignorance.
“I don’t know but let me see what I can do about it,” Hussain said.
District Commissioner Baramulla, Nasir Ahmad Naqash told Kashmir Reader that it was “small issue”, but when informed about the condition of the bridge, he said a team would be sent to the spot to inspect. “Let me see what I can do about it,” he added.