3 decades on, Warbagh residents await bridge over Romshi stream

An elderly woman walks over a makeshift bridge at Warbagh in Pulwama. — Excelsior/Younis Khaliq
An elderly woman walks over a makeshift bridge at Warbagh in Pulwama. — Excelsior/Younis Khaliq

Suhail Bhat
PULWAMA, Oct 4: Inordi-nate delay in the completion of a bridge over Romshi stream in Warbagh area of South Kashmir’s Pulwama town is forcing residents of over a dozen villages to cross the stream using an unsafe makeshift bridge.
The locals told Excelsior that for three decades, people living across the stream are demanding the construction of a concrete bridge that would connect nearly a dozen villages to the district headquarters. They alleged that the Government has failed to take up the pending work despite the passing of nearly three decades. “The bridge has been abandoned by the Government for unknown reasons,” Ghulam Nabi, a local said.
The officials, however, claimed that they did not abandon the project and were planning to construct a motorable concrete bridge a few meters away from the existing bridge. “The bridge would be built at the cost of Rs 362 lakhs,” an official at the Deputy Commissioner’s office said.
For the residents of Wurbagh and dozens of adjoining villages, it has become customary to donate wooden planks for the restoration and repair of a makeshift bridge that was built over the abandoned stone pillars. “In the last 30 years, I have never seen any change in the abandoned bridge. Except for stone pillars, nothing is there. To put the pillars to use, residents put wooden planks over it,” Adil Ahmad, a local from Hassanwani said, adding the residents have been repairing the makeshift bridge for themselves for last three decades.
“We have made several representations to the authorities but despite promises, no construction has been started. We have knocked on every possible door but to no avail,” another local, Hilal Ahmad, said.
Delay in the construction work of the bridge is forcing people to take longer routes to reach their destination. “This is a poor neighborhood and for all the necessities like health care and education people have to travel to the main Town. All the important institutions are on the other side of the stream”, a local said.
The locals lamented  that every time a medical emergency arises in the villages they have to carry the patient on their shoulders and walk over the rickety wooden planks, as it is the only shortest possible distance available to them.
Deputy Commissioner Pulwama, Ghulam Moham-mad, said that he would look into the matter and try to address the issue at earliest. “I will try to meet the people and solve their issues as soon as possible,” he said.