BUDGAM: Nearly all link roads in Tehsil Khag in Central Kashmir’s Budgam district are in bad shape and need the urgent attention of the relevant authorities to start reconstruction and make them fit to facilitate transportation of goods and travel of people.
Commuters here, especially school-going children, have been facing great hardship in using these broken roads. Many accidents have occurred because of the poor condition of the thoroughfare.
The recent flash flood rains have caused further damage to these roads and have added to the miseries of the common people of the area.
The 4.5 kilometre stretch from Khag to Haripora is in bad shape, remaining inundated with rainwater and sewage in most places, through which traffic must pass if it is to reach its destination.
Local people said that the authorities had said that construction work on this road would be started soon, but years have passed and the roads are still in a pathetic state.
“The terrible state of the roads has hit the health of school-going children badly. Every day, they have to travel 10 kilometres on foot. During hot days, they suffer with the dust and scorching heat, and on rainy days, they have to cross through pits full of water and mud,” Ghulam Mohammad Reshi, an elderly local resident, said.
Similarly, the four-kilometre Poshker-Gogaldara road is broken at various points and is unfit for traffic and the movement of goods. It is the only road linking the area with the rest of the world.
“The road is completely broken and needs urgent attention from the officials concerned and political leaders,” said a resident, Bhat Imtiyaz.
Deep ditches could be seen in this road at several points, making travel even more difficult.
The area’s residents complained that despite repeated assurances from successive governments, their long-pending issue has still not been dealt with “even in the 21st century”.
Mohammad Maqbool, a resident of Gogaldara, said that the area is living in the stone age. “Our roads have never been repaired, nor have they been macadamised,” he said, adding, “We demand immediate repair and macadamisation of the roads so that we may feel some respite.”
The three-kilometre Khag-Kokerbagh road is no exception. Residents said that no repair work has been carried out on this road for the last two decades.
The bumpy structures of the road make driving very difficult. People said that legislators from the district had failed to take steps for improvement of the road infrastructure in their constituencies. They rejected the claims of the MLAs about their achievements.
The people criticised political leaders across parties for not taking an interest in finding a solution to their problems, especially after the 2014 general election.
Assistant Executive Engineer, Khag, Mehraj Ahmad said that the repair of the roads has been tendered out under NABARD. However, there would be minimum macadamisation this year, extending over only a few kilometres of road stretch.
“Rs 94 lakh have been sanctioned for the repair, and the work will start soon,” he added.
Asgar Watali, Executive Engineer, R&B Budgam, said while talking to Kashmir Reader that there is no proposal this year of macadamising the link roads in Budgam.
“In the state sector, there would be no macadamisation, but in NABARD and CDF sector, there is a possibility of macadamisation to a few kilometres,” he added.
He went on, “There is authorisation of only a total five kilometres in each constituency, which is almost negligible.
“Even repairs are impossible this year.”
When asked about the reasons, he said, “This is not up to me and I am not competent to answer, but this is the decision of the government.”