SRINAGAR: The government is yet to complete the construction of a grade separator near the Tourist Reception Centre (TRC), three years after initiating the work.
The two-lane grade separator would ease the burden of traffic from Lal Chowk that has by now itself become a burden for the government.
A grade separator would help traffic ply in two directions from Sonwar to Lal Chowk and in the M A Road area. But the project, which was scheduled for completion by December 2016, has now crossed two more years and there is no sign of the grade separator being completed.
Workers and engineers associated with the project told Kashmir Reader that if the work “continues at the same pace, it will take more than four years to complete.”
There are 300 labourers on the project, working on shift basis, the workers revealed. It should have taken hardly one year to complete, they said, but it is taking time “due to the wrong approach of higher ups”.
The foundation stone of the grade separator was laid by the former chief minister, the late Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, in December 2015. The project is being executed by the Jammu and Kashmir Economic Reconstruction Agency (ERA) and its total cost was budgeted at Rs. 17.85 crore, part of which is funded by an Asian Development Bank loan.
“Because of the government’s non-seriousness, people are suffering a lot as they often get stuck in traffic jams for hours due to bottlenecks. This is one of the main road links that connects people with the main road of Srinagar city, and still the authorities are not serious about completing the project,” said Munner Ahmad, a shopkeeper.
He added that on Sunday the lack of a separator creates more problem as there is a huge rush of people towards the Sunday Market, while the other side of the thoroughfare is blocked by construction material lying on the road side. “If this grade separator will be functional, then there would be no traffic jam,” he said.
ERA Public Relations Officer Mohammad Azhar Iqbal told Kashmir Reader that the project construction work had been affected because of the 2016 uprising that caused the labourers to flee the state and to return very late.
“We cannot hire labourers from Kashmir as they don’t know this work, they don’t know how to use the machines and material,” he said.
From last few months work has been done to a large extent over the last few months as compared to the past, he said, adding, “The project will be completed in the next year.”