‘Whenever a vehicle passes, passengers feel they’ve had a narrow escape’
BUDGAM: At a time when the authorities claim to have developed bridge infrastructure on a modern pattern, the two main bridges on the Narbal-Budgam road are in complete shambles and pose a threat to thousands of commuters.
Commuters and local residents who cross the route on a daily basis complain that only daredevils can drive on these two ramshackle bridges. Most commuters fear they may collapse any time.
One of the bridges, which was set up on a small canal near the Narbal cricket ground, has got tilted to one side and has turned slippery. However, hundreds of vehicles ply over it every day, apart from dozens of school buses ferrying students to and from different schools.
“This bridge was damaged during the devastating September 2014 floods, when the whole area was fully submerged, but the authorities never bothered to pay any kind of attention towards this issue,” said Sajid Ali, a local.
He added that many vehicles have met with accidents crossing over these two bridges during the past four years, but this could not wake the administration and the politicians of the area.
“Presently, vehicles use the bridge mainly due to compulsion in absence of any other means of connectivity,” he added.
Similarly, another bailey bridge constructed over the Sukhnag stream has got damaged due to the negligence of the concerned authorities.
The bridge is the main link between the two parts of Budgam district, connecting Narbal area with Soibug and finally with the Budgam district headquarters.
Most of the slippery metal plates laid over it have corroded, and big holes and gaps could be seen in it from afar.
“Many times bikers and cars have met with accidents while crossing as their tyres lock in the holes that have occurred on the metal plates,” Amir Ali said.
Local people and cricket players of adjoining areas, who come to play cricket in the playground that lies between the two bridges, expressed resentment against what they termed “negligence and pathetic approach” on the part of the concerned authorities.
“The bridge is virtually hanging from one side, and whenever a vehicle passes over, the passengers feel like they have had a narrow escape,” said a local, Jalal Ahmad.
He added that a few years back, two loaded vehicles were once crossing the bridge when a bike that was also on the bridge got trapped between them, killing the biker on the spot.
“Following that, the bridge was renovated. However, it has again got damaged now with the passage of time,” he added.
Locals of the area appeal to the concerned Deputy Commissioner and the Governor to intervene and construct a new bridge in these two places.
When contacted, Executive Engineer R&B Budgam, Asger Ali Watali, said, “I have tendered out the work for this bridge and the work may start soon.”