18 years on, Baramulla’s jetty bridge nowhere near completion

A view of incomplete jetty bridge in Baramulla. - Excelsior/Aabid Nabi
A view of incomplete jetty bridge in Baramulla. - Excelsior/Aabid Nabi

Suhail Bhat
SRINAGAR, Nov 27: The construction of a vital bridge at Khawajabagh area of North Kashmir’s Baramulla district is incomplete despite a lapse of 18 years.
The 262-meters bridge would divert traffic movement from Kupwara, Handwara and Rafiabad towards Srinagar and other areas by skirting the crowded market of Baramulla. It would serve as an alternate route between Baramulla and Kupwara and cut travel time.
“We have to cover a long distance to reach Kupwara. The bridge, if constructed, will shorten our distance by about 30 kilometers,” Mudasir Ahmad, a resident said. He added that the construction work faced frequent interruptions right from the beginning in 2002.
As per residents of the area, the work on the bridge is moving at a snail’s pace and they have to face great difficulties in absence of the bridge. “We were thrilled with the coming of the facility, but despite the passage of 18 years, the bridge is incomplete. Looking at the pace of work I don’t think I will see its completion in my lifetime,” Mehraj Ahmad, a resident from Khawajabagh area of the Baramulla said.
Jammu and Kashmir Projects Construction Corporation (JKPCC), the executing agency blamed lack of interest in the tendering process for the delay. “We invited tenders for its construction twice last year, but received no response at all,” Deputy General Manager, JKPCC, Shabir Ahmad told Excelsior.
Asked about undue delay in the project’s completion, he said the project was marred by the scarcity of funds right from the beginning.
“The issue was resolved after the Government placed it under languishing projects, but no one seems to be interested in the work,” he said, adding that they have prepared a detailed project report of around Rs 19 crores for the pending work.
He said the construction of the bridge began with an estimated cost of Rs 15.65 crores, but the cost was revised to Rs 21.37 crores. “Only the foundation of the bridge is complete and the superstructure and sub-structure of the bridge is pending,” he added.