Historic Nand Singh Bridge located at Haji Pir nullah close to Uri in Baramulla district has been waiting for reconstruction for nearly twelve years. This is a strategic bridge on the previous Jhelum Valley Road which used to connect the valley with Muzaffarabad now in PoK. Haji Pir is the famous strategic pass which connects Poonch with Uri. In 1965 war with Pakistan, our valiant troops had fought and wrested the critical Haji Pir pass from the hands of Pakistan. But as a result of Shimla Agreement, we had to return it to Pakistan in exchange of some posts elsewhere on Indo-Pak border.
The Uri Bridge was damaged and then a temporary bridge was built for civilian traffic whereas the army built its own bridge for its exclusive use. The temporary bridge is old and worn out and can collapse at any time. Twelve years ago, the Government announced that this bridge would be made of concrete and cement and made usable for all kinds of traffic. The bridge connects nearly 35 villages in the area. Ever since the bridge broke down twelve years ago, the people of these localities have been facing many hardships. They fear that it may suddenly collapse one day and could cause fatalities.
Despite several appeals made to the concerned authorities, nobody is showing any serious interest in building this bridge expeditiously. According to locals, the construction work on the damaged bridge was taken up by the Project Beacon of Border Roads Organization (BRO) but the contractor who was allotted the work abandoned it abruptly. He wanted revision of the plan which, however, was not permissible under rules. Chief Engineer Beacon, Brigadier A K Das told Excelsior that construction work on the bridge will start in May this year as the Beacon had engaged a new contractor. It is unfortunate that a vital project like the Uri Bridge has run into difficulties and even the matter has been carried to a court of law by the previous contractor.
We hope that the Beacon will fix up time line with the new contractor so that the project is not delayed further. When Government is unable to fix up time frame, people lose their trust on the Government. This time the commitment of the Beacon Chief Engineer should not become a mockery and the bridge should come up within the stipulated time frame.