New bridge nowhere near completion
Pulwama: Hundreds of people, from dozens of villages here in Pulwama, continue to suffer as a major bridge at Trichal on outskirts of the town, remains far from completion, more than four years after it was damaged in the floods of 2014.
The bridge not only connects many Pulwama villages to main town but is also considered as a vital link between dozens of villages in Shopian district-dependent for many a things on Pulwama headquarters-and the Pulwama town.
Moreover, the bridge connects the Lassipora Industrial estate to the Pulwama town and in absence of the bridge the unit owners at the estate have to take longer routes to transport their products to different parts of the valley.
As per official records the bridge was washed away during the floods of 2014.
“Following which the government did nothing to mend the situation for more than two years,” Ghulam Hassan Rather, a local shopkeeper told Kashmir Reader.
He said that the administration woke up to the plight of the people and a small iron bridge was laid down, as a makeshift arrangement, “with a full fledged bridge still nowhere in sight,”
The iron bridge, however, was blown apart after militants had targeted an army vehicle with an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) in October last year.
Seven army men were injured in the explosion. It was only after this explosion that the government woke up and started construction of a bridge in the area and that too has been going on at a snail’s pace.
Meanwhile, following the damage to the iron bridge the locals have again been forced to use a slippery diversion along the under construction bridge.
The situation has worsened for the locals in the last week or so after heavy snowfall was recorded across the valley.
“There has been no snow clearance along this bridge probably there is nothing that can be called as a road,” locals lament.
Locals told Kashmir Reader that they have to carry essentials like LPG cylinders and other things over their shoulders and walk over the treacherous diversion.
“The worst affected have been the people who fall sick in these areas for they too need to be carried on shoulders to pass the diversion,” the locals said.
The public transporters have also shunned the area for lack of a bridge.
The construction of the bridge, meanwhile, is being carried out by the Roads and Buildings department, with officials stating that the bridge would be completed by April.
“The problem was, we did not have land for creation of a diversion. We had to acquire land for this purpose first which took more than three years,” Assistant Executive Engineer (AEE) R&B Pulwama, Yasir Ahmad, told Kashmir Reader.
He said that the work on the bridge is going on at a record pace and despite the fact that the work was started only two months ago, “the bridge is scheduled to be completed by April this year”.
The AEE said that sub-structure is complete and the super structure is being manufactured to be installed over the sub-structure, soon.