Changing take off points of bridge delays Kontwara road construction

A man of Kontwara area in Kishtwar district crossing the river in a trolley due to failure of Government to construct the bridge.
A man of Kontwara area in Kishtwar district crossing the river in a trolley due to failure of Government to construct the bridge.

Work also abandoned on Dangduru-Lopara road

Avtar Bhat
JAMMU, July 30: Changing the take off points of a vital bridge on river Chenab thrice in last one decade due to Government’s wavering decisions on the Rattle Hydro Electric Project has been the main cause in delaying the construction of 28 km long Kandni to Ohli road in Kontwara area of Drabshala block in Kishtwar district.
Sources said the work on Rs 21 crore road as well as the bridge was started over a decade back by the Roads and Buildings (R&B) Department but due to the changing of take off points of the bridge on river Chenab at Kandni, which was a part of the same road has delayed the construction of Ohli to Kandni road, work on which was taken in hand way back in 2008.
Sources said earlier the bridge was to be constructed at Kandni but after the sanction was accorded to construction of Rattle Power Project, its take off points were shifted to Chatter as the designers suggested that the bridge will submerge in water of dam after the construction of the power project at Rattle.
The location of the bridge was shifted to upper side in Chatter area as when the Department was about to start work on the bridge but it was again decided to shift the site of the bridge to Drabshalla due to the uncertainty over the construction of Ratle Project. However, when again the Government decided to start work on Rattle Project, the take off point of the bridge was shifted to Chatter.
Official sources said construction of the bridge is vital for shifting the heavy machinery for construction of the road on the other side of the river Chenab. Till the bridge is constructed the machinery can’t be shifted to other side for cutting the hill slope etc, they added.
Sources said now the abutments of the bridge have been constructed and only slab is to be laid. However, work of the bridge and road which was allotted to ECI Engineers of Hyderabad, a Telangana based firm, had abandoned and the Department has now served it a notice to start the work immediately.
Officials said the Department has exerted lot of pressure on the firm to start the work and it is hopeful that it will not like to get blacklisted. In case the firm fails to start work on the road project, the Department will left with no alternative but to recommend action against it, sources added.
The construction of the road has been a distant dream for the local people and only 9.50 kms of this 28 km long road has been constructed so far. The construction work of the road was divided into two parts. The estimated cost on its one part is over Rs 10 crore and on the other part the cost is over Rs 11 crore.
Sources said the delay in construction of the road has added to the woes of over 25,000 souls of 30 hamlets of the area as due to lack of road services the people do not have access to basic facilities of life. The school going children and patients suffering from chronic diseases face hardships in reaching nearby hospital in Kishtwar which is also at 25 kms distance and patients have to be either shifted on horse back or on carts lifted by four persons.
Some times the patients with chronic diseases or pregnant women die on the way before reaching hospital. Even the students of the area have to abandon their education due to lack of facilities for higher education after 10+2, said locals of the area.
Same is the fate of 22 km long Dangduru to Lopara road to be constructed at an estimated cost of Rs 19 crore in Dachhan area of Kishtwar district. The construction of this road is also a pending dream of the people. The work on the road was started two years back and after construction of some portion the work has been abandoned by the contractor. The residents said that authorities are not interested in construction of this road on which the work was started after a lot of struggle by the local people.
The officials said that contractor suffered heavy losses as his machinery was damaged due to land sliding. Executive Engineer, R&B Marwah Division, Rajesh Sambyal, however, said that the Department is after the contractor to resume the work and he has promised to start the same within days.