SRINAGAR: Despite repeated promises about completion of various vital bridges in Srinagar city, the said bridges are still unfinished.
These include Qamarwari Bridge and Pandrethan Bridge, which have awaited completion for more than six years, while Shalteng Bridge has been waiting for more than ten.
Construction on Shalteng Bridge, the lone motorable bridge in the Srinagar area, is going on at a snail’s pace. The authorities have already taken 10 years on it but are still not able to complete it.
Once complete, the bridge would connect Goripora and Palapora areas with the Srinagar-Baramulla highway. The construction of the 193-metre bridge was started in November 2008 at a revised cost of Rs 1,679.78 lakhs. The project is being executed by the Jammu and Kashmir Project Construction Corporation (JKPCC).
The area’s aggrieved residents have repeatedly appealed to the department concerned to finish the bridge project so that they don’t have to continue facing the problems its lack creates.
“When the construction was started, we felt very happy as this was the lone motorable bridge that would connect us to Srinagar-Baramulla highway via Shalteng. But within the year, the work stopped and restarted only after months. The same has happened over and over again for the last nine years. God knows when they will complete the bridge,” said Muzaffar who lives in the area.
Barely five kms from Shalteng is another bridge, the Qamarwari Bridge, which was begun in 2011 to reduce the traffic congestion in the area.
Work on the 127-metre bridge, which according to the Roads and Buildings (R&B) Department costs Rs 9.85 crore, was started in June 2011. Despite having exceeded the second deadline in its construction, which was in March last year, the department has failed to construct the bridge in the given time frame.
Another bridge awaiting completion for more than six years is that in the Pandrathen area, which is also constructed by JKPCC at a total project cost of Rs 13.33 crore.
Due to be a 120-metre double lane bridge, the bridge once complete will connect the areas of Lasjan, Soibugh and Padshahibagh to Srinagar via the national highway.
Locals from Soiteng, Lasjan, Padshahibagh, Athwajan, Pandhrethan, Batwara, Sonawar and adjoining areas have repeatedly appealed to the authorities, but they have paid no heed to the issues. Instead, as per the locals, they come up with different excuses every time.
R&B Department Chief Engineer Sami Arif Yesvi told Kashmir Reader that because of rehabilitation issues raised by the shopkeepers and house owners, the bridge now comes under the languishing projects scheme.
“We have forwarded the affiliated file to the Revenue Department, as things will happen as per the government norms. They will be compensated as per the actual market value of 2010,” Yesvi said.
Yasvi further said that there is a lack of funds for this project, which becomes another reason for the delay in construction.
“The bridge would have been completed if the funds were released earlier, but due to cost variation and escalation, the construction was held up.
“Now the government has released funds from the languishing projects scheme, and hopefully the construction will be completed in the end of the year 2019 and the bridge will be thrown open for traffic in the same year,” he added.
JKPCC officials solely blamed the paucity of funds for the delay in the construction of the Pandrethan Bridge
“The scarcity of funds is the main reason for delaying this bridge, though some other minor problems hampered the initial pace of the work. Hopefully we will complete this bridge in this year,” an official said, who wished not to be named.
About Shalteng Bridge, the official held the 2014 flood and the 2016 uprising in the valley responsible. “Apart from that, we have to add two more spans to the bridge; that is another reason for the delay. Earlier we were to construct only a 148-metre bridge, but later, as per the authorities, we have to construct anj additional 45 metres,” the official told Kashmir Reader.