Anantnag: The government seems to have shelved the much-needed upgrade of Lasjan-Pampore-Pulwama road as no further action has been initiated after the call for tenders was made in 2019.
The road, a vital one, connects Pampore town to the rest of Pulwama district and is an important alternative link to Srinagar city. An upgrade of this road would have taken some burden off the old National Highway and even the newly constructed NH-44.
“And that is what the government thought initially, at least,” a source in the district administration of Pulwama told Kashmir Reader. “The work was to be funded by the World Bank and tenders were floated in September 2019,” he informed.
The bids were floated by a unit of the Jhelum and Tawi Flood Recovery Project. The work was to be completed in 15 months.
The official said that the multi-crore project would have been a facelift for the entire Pulwama district, as travelling within and out of the district would have gotten a lot easier.
“The bids were supposed to be revised in November that year but it did not happen, for reasons I am not privy to,” the official in the district administration said.
The 14-kilometre road between Pampore and Pulwama, and almost an equal length between Pampore and Lasjan, for now, lies in a shambles. “The potholes are bigger than the vehicles and what could have been a 20-minute drive takes more than an hour,” locals who travel on the two routes said.
Some sources in the administration said that the project was shelved because of the pandemic as funds were diverted to Covid management.
“The lockdown also did not help the cause and the project has been altogether shelved, at least for now,” the official said.
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the J&K Economic Reconstruction Agency (ERA), Syed Abid Rasheed, however said that the World Bank pulled out of the project after two contractors approached court to settle their issues vis-a-vis the project.
“It was a huge project and that is why the World Bank’s help was sought. But for the World Bank, litigation is a big no. They pulled out the moment they learnt that two contractors have reached court,” Abid told Kashmir Reader.