PULWAMA, Jan 1: Almost 11-years have passed since the foundation stone for the construction of the Circular Road around Pulwama town was laid but the construction work still lingers leading to traffic jams.
The delay has irked more than two lakh people who were supposed to get benefited from the project that could have decongested the South Kashmir township.
With a total project cost of Rs 1379.98 lakhs, Government in 2005 embarked on an ambitious mission to decongest the Pulwama town by constructing an 11. 9 Kilometers loop around the town.
The road would have diverted the incoming traffic from Shopian, Anantnag and Mughal Road and would have allowed commuters to bypass the Pulwama town thereby, leaving the old route in place to serve the inhabitants of Pulwama only. But, even after the passage of more than a decade, the project still awaits completion owing to alleged political interferences by the successive Governments.
The locals alleged that Government is not showing any seriousness towards the project and is moving at a snail’s pace. “Earlier there was a standoff between farmers and Government over the issue of compensation but even after the issue was resolved the construction work has not picked up. Now, there is no reason to delay the project but despite the clearance of all the hurdles the project still lingers on. It would have helped not only Pulwama Town but Shopian as well and would have saved the time of commuters traveling through Mughal Road”.
With a total project cost of Rs 28.27 crore, the project was actually divided into two phases but the alleged laid back attitude of officials delayed the construction process and forced the Government to break it into three phases.
An official at Roads and Buildings Department said the initial deadline of the project was three years but the paucity of funds delayed the construction: “There are two main reasons for the delay in construction: Paucity of funds and the compensation to farmers. After the completion of first-phase from Gongoo to BSNL Exchange Pulwama, the work was stalled because of farmers refused to give land without compensation. The issues were recently solved by the district administration and after that work on the second phase was also completed. Work on the third phase is underway”.
Zahoor Ahmad, Assistant Executive Engineer, Roads and Buildings Department said the road is completely motorable and only 1.9 Kilometers need to be macadamized, “The unrest has delayed the completion of the project but even then the road is motorable with both heavy and light vehicles plying on it. Only the macadamization of 1.9 Kilometers has to be done and for that tendering and allocation of work have already been done. By June next year the road will be fully macadamized,” he said.
Deputy Commissioner Pulwama, Muneer-Ul-Islam said the project could not be completed this year because of unrest and only four Kilometers of road has to be macadamized to make the road fully functional. “The project would have been completed this year but the macadamization could not be carried out due to the unrest that Kashmir witnessed from past four months. We will soon start the macadamization of the road so that projects serve its basic purpose”.