SRINAGAR: Construction material “worth lakhs of rupees” is lying unattended and getting washed off in the river Jhelum near the proposed construction site of a bridge near the already existing old Zaina Kadal Bridge here in the old city.
In the year 2002, Omar Abdullah, the then Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir inaugurated the old Zaina Kadal Bridge after its renovation and announced the construction of new bridge parallel to the old bridge while delivering a lecture in Zaina Kadal chowk saying that “Zaina Kadal is the heart of the city and the new bridge would compensate the growing amount of traffic in the area”.
Five shops were demolished from the side of Gadyar Masjid and were relocated to Bohri Kadal. On the other side of the planned bridge is an old structure of Gani Textile and Woollen Mills and government was in the process of “negotiation” with its owner.
According to the residents, after a couple of months of the announcement, the work on the bridge was started and the construction material was laid at the site. The piling work was done in the coming years but after a couple of years the pace of the work slowed down and finally the work was stopped after 2014 floods.
“It was the first time that any Chief Minister had delivered a lecture in Zaina Kadal when Omar Abdullah announced the project. More than twenty trucks of construction material worth lakhs of rupees were laid at the site, but the work stopped after the floods,” said Mushtaq Ahmad, Joint Secretary Zaina Kadal committee.
“Most of the material like sand, cement and bajri has been washed off from the banks and the rest of iron material is rotting on the banks,” he said.
The residents and shopkeepers, Mushtaq said, were happy to see the construction work going on in full swing when men and machinery were deployed to the site. But after the work stopped, he said, they have time and again approached the authorities but the work was never started again. Roads and Buildings (R&B) department had also raised an office there to supervise the work.
Chief Engineer R&B, Sami Arif told Kashmir Reader that the work on the new project is “under examination”.
“There is a new bridge constructed couple of hundred meters away from the old Zaina Kadal Bridge. Also the old bridge was made functional after renovation. So there is no problem of connectivity,” Arif said.
“The new project has not been shelved as it is under examination. There were a couple of heritage structures that were coming under it had to be demolished to pave way for the new bridge. So we are working on it and will continue the work accordingly,” he added.