Shopian: The lack of a vital connecting bridge has denied vehicular services to more than a dozen villages in Tral township of south Kashmir’s Pulwama district, despite the location it is needed at being in the heart of the town.
Watal-Ara stream near Irrigation Division at Sub-district Hospital, Tral, has been awaiting the government’s attention for decades after more than a dozen villages in the hamlet faced immense problems because of the lack of a bridge over the stream.
Many inhabitants from Kanil Mohalla Tral-i-Bala, Pinglish, Shikargah, Koil, Laribal and Cheribugh villages accuse the authorities of neglecting their area for its being economically backward and hence providing limited means of monetary gain to higher officials and politicians. “We face huge problems mostly in terms of carrying patients to hospital. Due to the lack of a bridge on this stream, no driver is ready to ply his vehicle on this road, which forces us to put our patients on wooden stretchers,” local resident Khalil Muhammad Lone said.
Villagers said that they have written hundreds of applications to the authorities in this regard, but their pleas have been avoided for unknown reasons. “Whenever there is inclement weather, we get apprehensive about the safety of our children because once it starts raining, there comes a strong flow of water in this stream and the children’s school bags have drowned in it several times,” Shakeel Ahmad, a Kanil Mohalla resident, said while adding that the five-kilometre stretch of road here is also in a bad condition but the lack of a bridge has worsened it.
Construction of this bridge would be a lifeline for dozens of villages but is also important as it would connect tourist spot Shikargah from one side and SDH Tral from the other.
Farmers of the area also suffer as they are unable to plough their fields in the absence of a bridge to take their cattle and tractors across the stream.
Every day, hundreds of students, office employees, labourers, farmers and patients are constrained to walk on this road as it connects them with the main Tral town, they added.
On the other hand, residents at Kanil Mohalla, Tral, complained that they are living a “dreadful” life when it rains.
“During floods, especially in 2010 and 2014, we left our homes to save ourselves as we took another route from Pinglish but could not evacuate our cattle as we had no bridge to cross,” says Showkat Ahmed, a local.
Executive Engineer Roads and Buildings Department, Pulwama, Sajad Naquib told Kashmir Reader that the department has written a project report to the government but the funds were not released yet.
When asked that the R&B Department had the same version years ago, that funds were not released by the government, he said the department does not have the authority to release funds.
Deputy Commissioner, Pulwama, Ghulam Muhammad Dar told Kashmir Reader that he will look into this matter and will see the factual status of this bridge.