With rapidly increasing economic activity, expansion of business and movement of men and material, smaller towns of the State have come under population and transport pressure. The congestion of a town is commensurate with its commercial and strategic locale. Obviously, to decongest the affected towns, plans have to be devised and budgeted. Though this issue should have been addressed much before the pressure from traffic grew and the PWD was not in a position to widen the streets as a matter of priority, this task has now assumed much more importance because of great congestion faced by the towns.
Let us focus on Pulwama town which is also the district headquarter. Way back in 2005, the Government mooted a proposal of constructing 11.9 Kilometers loop around the town at a cost of Rs 1379.98 lakhs. 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. So far, what we find is that the Government has not been able to construct one kilometer of road in one year or more.
When authorities are contacted, the answer is the patent one — funds are not released in time, and secondly there is unrest in the Valley which adversely affects construction work. About the funding, it is announced simultaneously when the Government announces construction of a project. As far as paper work is concerned, we find that the quantum of funds for each project is announced at a time when the project is actually taken in hand. It means that the Government commits itself to standing by the project and not waste time in fissiparous activities. One of the reasons of slackness and antipathy with bringing a developmental project to completion in time is the interference from politicians and their men. If our politicians interfere in any project that is underway, it has to be only in suggestive manner so that our people derive much needed benefit from the project underway.
A little more than two lakh of people of the locality are supposed to be benefitted by the construction of the new road link. It was and is a sensible plan and would be highly effective in decongesting the town of Pulwama. But the irony is that on the one hand politicians have an axe to grind and on the other fund- providing sources play ducks and drakes with the contactors and engineers who become helpless spectators in the process. Another difficulty in the way of executing such projects in time is the non-cooperation of the villagers whose lands come under the scheme for acquisition. Sometimes we feel that there is lack of coordination among Government agencies responsible for executing various schemes. We expect these departments to contribute actively to united decisions on development plans so that these are implemented smoothly and without the need for any interference.