Shopian: Pulwama is probably the lone town in Kashmir which has no footpaths at all in the entire town area. What is worse, the authorities have no plans to establish any footpath in the town either.
Officials, when asked about this, said that there is a fund of Rs 1 crore for town beautification, but it can only be used to renovate the existing footpaths, not establish new ones.
Locals said that due to the lack of footpaths, pedestrians are the worst victims of traffic jams, as not only are they stranded amid the fumes and noise of vehicles but also are at greater risk of accident or falling down while walking between the vehicles.
“Not only does it consume our time but having no footpaths also leads to accidents when pedestrians are forced to walk on the roads that see a heavy rush of vehicles,” said Jahangir Ahmad Malik, a resident of the town.
Concerned citizens said that there is quite heavy traffic in the town as vehicles from Shopian district go through Pulwama towards central and north Kashmir, and vice versa.
“Besides the inter-district transport, the Shopian-Poonch highway has also increased the burden on Pulwama’s roads, further shrinking the space for pedestrians in absence of footpaths,” said Ali Muhammad Sofi, a senior citizen.
Another local said that there isn’t a single road in the town where there are footpaths.
Officials of Municipal Committee Pulwama said that construction of footpaths doesn’t come in their domain, as it the job of the Roads and Buildings department.
“We can repair, beautify, or renovate the footpaths, but their construction isn’t our job,” the Executive Officer of Municipal Committee Pulwama told Kashmir Reader.
Executive Engineer of the Roads and Buildings department in Pulwama, Muhammad Yousuf Tramboo, said that the department has no plans for the construction of footpaths in the town.
“We are making a DPR for town beautification under which existing footpaths will be repaired. The construction of footpaths can only be done with road widening, which will cost a heavy amount and also involve giving compensation for the structures which will have to be removed for widening the road,” Tramboo said.