Anantnag: A grade separator (Overhead Bridge) near Lasjan on the outskirts of Srinagar city, aimed at maintaining smooth flow of traffic on NH-44, has missed yet another deadline in December last year, much to the dismay of commuters who face the daily traffic grind at the spot.
The Overhead Bridge was sanctioned in the year 2011 with the aim of maintaining smooth flow of converging traffic movement at the particular spot. It was taken up for construction by RAMKY, a Hyderabad-based construction company which has also been entrusted with construction of NH-44.
Sources told Kashmir Reader that the first deadline set for the completion of the project was set in 2014. “The company for some operational reasons was not able to complete the project within the deadline,” a source in the administration told Kashmir Reader.
The source said that the deadline was then extended to 2016 but the company again failed to deliver. “They could not complete the project and missed several deadlines after the one in 2016 as well,” the source said.
Finally, the deadline by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) was pushed to December 2019 and still the project is nowhere near completion.
A source in the NHAI said that there were some issues regarding land acquisition in the beginning and it took a long time to settle those out. “Having said that, the company executing the project should have been fined by now for not completing the work, even after a decade of taking up the project,” a highly placed source in the NHAI said, requesting anonymity.
Meanwhile, the commuters who have been bearing the brunt of this delay lament that they have to spend precious time in long traffic halts at this particular point.
“Particularly during the peak hours, as traffic from almost entire south and some parts of north Kashmir converges at this point. The overhead bridge would have been bliss if completed, but it looks like it will be another decade before that happens,” Imtiyaz Ahmad, a daily commuter on NH-44, told Kashmir Reader.
Kashmir Reader talked to the Regional Manager of NHAI, Hemraj Bhagat, who said that the completion will take at least a year.
“There were some issues to begin with but now they have been sorted out and work will be started soon as the weather allows,” Bhagat said, adding that it will take at least a year for completion of the project after work is commenced.
Asked if RAMKY was going to be penalised for slow pace of work, Bhagat said that contractual provisions were an ongoing process.