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Govt fails to restore bridges damaged in 2014 floods

Govt fails to restore bridges damaged in 2014 floods

Suhail Bhat

PULWAMA, Jan 5: Government has failed to restore five major bridges of South Kashmir that were washed away in devastating floods in 2014, thereby forcing people to travel long distances to reach their destinations.
Over two years have passed since the floods ravaged Valley but the construction work on the damaged bridges has not picked up yet.  The construction work on all the major bridges including Rohmu Bridge, Gudoora Bridge, Chankatar bridge, Vishoo and Balpora has not started yet which is affecting millions of people who are forced to take longer routes to reach their destination thereby affecting their lives directly.
Apart from the Chanakatar Bridge, which connects the upper tribal villages to the main Town of Tral, construction on all other important bridges has not started. The construction work on the most vital bridges like Batpora Bridge, which connects Batpora Police lines Shopian to the rest of villages and Rohmu Bridge, which connects Pulwama town to the central Kashmir via Newa, haven’t picked up yet.
Abdul Qayoom, a resident of Rohmooo, said the local Bridge was washed away two years back but the Government is not taking steps to restore it. “I used to travel through the bridge two years back but now the Government is forcing us to travel through a dilapidated road. The road has been made out from the gravel excavated from the stream itself which is not safe. At this time water level is low but as the water level rises it can put lives of passengers at risk,” he said.
General Manager of Jammu and Kashmir Projects Construction Corporation (JKPCC) Vikar Mustafa said that out of the five major bridges two bridges have been sponsored by the World Bank and it may take couple of more months to get clearance. “It will take us two more months to get clearance from the World Bank and once we get the clearance we will start the construction work immediately.”
“Construction work on the rest of bridges is underway but the bridges which are sponsored by the World Bank shall have to wait for clearance,” he said.  He further added that the construction work on the other flood-damaged bridges is underway but paucity of funds has affected the pace of the process. “The construction work is underway but the delay is due to the lack of funds,” he added.
Zahoor Ahmad, Assistant Executive Engineer, Roads and Buildings Department, said that apart from the Gudoora Bridge wherein there is a tussle between contractors over the process of bidding, the construction work of all the bridges are underway. “The construction work of bridges like Mogulpora Bridge, Maklina Bridge and Rangmulla Bridge is underway,” he said.
A senior official at Deputy Commissioner Office in Pulwama, Abdul Majeed Khan, said that the construction work on the eight bridges is underway and they will be completed by the end of this year. “We are restoring eight flood hit bridges and the restoration work will be completed this year. We will take up the cases of rest of bridges with different construction companies who were given the contracts,” he added.

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