Expedite construction of vital bridges

River Jehlum or Veth passes through Srinagar district, virtually dividing the city into two halves or sides and traditionally they are accessible and connected through bridges over this historically famous river. Bridges, therefore hold prime importance in Kashmir valley especially in Srinagar city which speaks for there being bridges over this river after short distances. In fact, Srinagar is the city of bridges. Having said this, there appears to be a departure by the state administration in according importance to these bridges which are the life line of the city. That can be illustrated in various ways separately but at the moment; we refer to those partially built or incomplete bridges over it which continue to remain incomplete after missing many deadlines with no firm assurance as to their completion.
The incomplete bridges, as on date in the summer capital city include, Qamarwari Bridge and Pandrethan Bridge and both of them await completion for more than six years, a period which by no standards can be considered reasonable. The difficulties and the inconvenience faced by the people of the areas concerned could be anyone’s guess but perhaps, the state administration appears to be ignorant .Following expressing of grievances, reminders and pleas by the public, promises by the State Administration made to redress the unfairness have not been kept. Take the case of Shalteng bridge, it is in its slothful and stagnation state for the last 10 years and no one from the administration is bothered about it, let alone feel regretful for being indifferent towards the troubles people are thus subjected to .
Qamarwari Bridge involving a cost of nearly Rs.10 crore was sanctioned by the State Government in the year 2011 primarily to ease the pressure of traffic congestion in the area as it connects large area to two main hospitals of Kashmir, Maharaja Hari Singh Hospital and Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences. The work on this bridge, 127 meters in length, started in the year 2011 and was given two deadlines, the last one that of March this year but the bridge could not come up complete for public use. Areas affected and the resultant difficulties faced by public relate to old city, Soura, Hazratbal, Ganderbal, Batmaloo and others.
At a further distance of five kilometers is another vital bridge, known as Shalteng Bridge on the outskirts of Srinagar, the construction of which was started by Jammu and Kashmir Projects Construction Corporation (JKPCC) in the year 2008. That stands virtually “abandoned” as it cannot be put even under  the category of being in an incomplete stage. This scenario projects   a saga of administrative lethargy of over ten long years. An amount of Rs.16.80 crore, as estimated cost of this bridge as at November 2008, was likely to get fairly escalated whenever the work on it was decided to be restarted. So it is a matter of double edged loss proposition, firstly, that  of the expected revised and escalated cost and secondly, avoidable wastage of the precious period of 10 years.
Agreed, devastating floods of 2014 might have had its impact on the construction works followed by sporadic incidents of disturbances but agreeably, not to the extent of what these three vital bridges have been subjected to. In order to address the problems faced by people of the concerned areas vis-à-vis these bridges, we urge the Government to expedite the construction of these three bridges without any further delay.