R&B abandons upkeep of old Srinagar-Anantnag highway

Commuters fume at the dilapidated condition of road

Anantnag: The roads and buildings department which is responsible for upkeep of old Srinagar-Anantnag highway has abandoned its job leaving the road in shambles.
Vast stretches of the highway are dotted with large craters and potholes irking commuters travelling on the highway.
The worst affected stretches are right on the periphery of the summer capital Srinagar. They include Pantha Chowk-Pampore and Pampore-Galandar stretches of the highway.
The stretches, according to citizens, have not been macadamized for years and even if some portion was blacktopped but the quality was so poor that it could not last for a few months.
While the NH-44 was being constructed by a Hyderabad based firm, RAMKY, the upkeep of the old stretches was also allocated to the firm. “The firm however tried their best to ignore the maintenance of the old national highway,” sources told Kashmir Reader.
Subsequently, these stretches were handed over to the Roads and Buildings department for the upkeep.
“Very reluctantly the R&B department blacktopped some portions including Barsoo-Awantipora, Sangam-Bijbehara and Bijbehara-Khannabal stretches,” sources in the department said.
The department, however, as per sources abandoned the rest including Pantha Chowk-Pampore and Pampore-Galandar.
In fact, the Pantha Chowk-Pampore stretch was macadamized last year but macadmisation could not as a water supply scheme developed a snag and flooded the area.
“Since then no efforts were made repair the road. It is a nightmare to ply on these stretches of the road day in and day out,” a cab driver, Gulzar Ahmad told Kashmir Reader.
The locals, in these areas, say that the stretches have become a cause of extreme concern for them. “Either they remain waterlogged or there is a cloud of dust always ready to engulf you, depending upon the time of the year,” Ghulam Hassan Bhat, a resident of Sempora said.
R&B Chief Engineer Sami Arif was not available for comment.

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