SRINAGAR: Construction work on Shalteng Bridge in Srinagar area is going on at a snail’s pace, even as the authorities have already taken almost ten years on the project without being able to complete it.
Once completed, the bridge would connect Goripora and Palapora areas with the Srinagar-Baramulla highway. The construction of the 193 metre-long bridge was started in November 2008 at a revised cost estimate of Rs 1679.78 lakhs. The project is being executed by the Jammu and Kashmir Project Construction Cooperation (JKPCC).
According to workers associated with the bridge, the plan was originally to construct only 148 metres of the bridge. “But within a year, the higher authorities changed their decision, and we were told to construct it as a 193 metre-long bridge as they wanted it to be double-laned.
“The double-laning of the bridge would automatically increase the cost, and they revised the cost at least three times. The initial phase, to lay the foundation and construct the base of the bridge, was under way when the authorities changed the decision.”
A group of labourers told Kashmir Reader that they have had to stop work for the past many years as “we were not receiving our wages regularly for a long time”,
The locals of the area are also blaming the authorities. “There are some construction activities only at the time when someone from the administration is visiting to check the work going on on the bridge. And after he leaves the spot, the workmen follow suit and are once again seen only when it is said that someone from the administration is coming to visit the place,” claimed Mohammad Syed, a local.
The aggrieved commuters appealed to the concerned department to complete the bridge, so that they won’t have to face such problems.
“When the construction started, we were very happy as this was the lone motorable bridge in the area that would connect us to the Srinagar-Baramulla highway via Shalteng. But within a year, the work stopped and restarted only after a few months. The same process happened again and again for the last decade; God know when they will complete the bridge,” said Muzafar Lone, another resident of the area.
A JKPCC official, who wished not to be named, blamed the delay on the 2014 flood and the 2016 uprising in the Valley. “Apart from that, we have to add two more spans to the bridge, that is another reason for the delay. First we were to construct only 148 metres of the bridge, but after that we now have to construct an additional 45 metres, as per the authorities,” the official told Kashmir Reader, adding that the JKPCC plans to complete this bridge in the next year.