BUDGAM: The five-kilometre stretch of road connecting Kaitch Razgeer with scores of villagers in Central Kashmir’s Budgam district has literally disappeared now after being neglected by successive governments.
This vital stretch is a link road that originated from the famous Dodpathri Road and connects Narigund, Chane Mohalla, Shalinar, Frestwar and many other economically deprived villages.
Talking to Kashmir Reader, the local villagers said that the road, which was the area’s sole means of connectivity, was never repaired even once in all its existence.
“The result of that was that potholes turned into craters, and ultimately, with the passage of time, the road has disappeared. People who used to travel by vehicles now commute on foot, in favourable conditions and in a few feet of snow as well,” locals said.
Syed Rafiq, a local resident, added that the inordinate delay in the construction of a vital bridge over the Shaliganga stream that originates from Dodpathri, a famous Budgam toursit resort, has also hampered traffic and pedestrian movement.
He added that the said road stretch has been badly damaged in the latest rains which caused potholes and ditches in a number of places and rendered it non-motorable.
Traffic on this stretch has remained closed over the last few years because of the pathetic state of the roads and the delay in construction of the bridge, Syed added.
Vehicles ply here only on a one-kilometre road where they don’t even move along a straight line but instead in a zigzag pattern to avoid the potholes every few feet, another resident, Shahid Bhat, said.
The local people continue to suffer because of gutter overflows and damaged roads elsewhere in the locality. A week has passed since the area received snow, but the roads are still inundated.
Almost every inch of the roads has been damaged over time, leaving hardly any route safe for passage.
The government has been repeatedly assuring the people of urgent repair works on the damaged roads, but their efforts have remained a mere dream, Bhat added.
Locals have complained that the administration had once left gravel that was to be used for filling ditches on the road, but it too became problematic for private vehicles.
The damaged road is also causing problems to people who need to visit hospital.
Residents of the area have expressed resentment over the negligence and indifference of the concerned officials and politicians and have urged the officials to resume the required repairs.
Assistant Executive Engineer R&B, Khansahab, Aijaz Ahmad told Kashmir Reader that the repair of the stretch is in consideration and that patch work on the road would be started within the next week.
He, however, had no answer when asked why the road has not been repaired in the last two decades.
Meanwhile, Khansahab MLA Hakeem Mohammad Yaseen said when contacted that this is an area with a lower population.
“Still I have brought their issue in the notice of higher officials, and the construction work on the bridge, which is being constructed at a cost of Rs 11 crore, is going on,” Hakeem said.
He further said that there are a few people who want to politicise small issues by providing hype to them.
“The work was stopped because of lack of funds, but the funds have been released now and work will start again,” he assured.