Historic Bund along Jhelum losing sheen, splendour; admin in slumber

Dilapidated condition of Bund along Jhelum in Srinagar. —Excelsior/Shakeel
Dilapidated condition of Bund along Jhelum in Srinagar. —Excelsior/Shakeel

Excelsior Correspondent

SRINAGAR, Feb 27: The historical Bund adding beauty to river Jhelum is slowly losing its sheen and glory due to the carelessness of the residents as well as the indifference of the administration.
For last one year the vehicular traffic that plies continuously on the Residency Road Bund has turned it no more than any ordinary road in the city with clouds of dust rising into the air. The Bund has sustained damages at several places while it losing the character of once being a Royal route.
Further, encroachments have been carried out by the owners of various commercial establishment which have all over again affected the beauty and glory of the Bund walking on which used to be an extraordinary experience.
The barricades which were erected at various places on the Bund have been removed by the administration and it has become a parking lot.
Earlier, the Government had taken up the beautification of the band of river Jehlum with the special focus given to the Bund starting from the Zero Bridge to Amira Kadal along the river, but over the years, the focus has diminished and it has been subjected to the official apathy.
Those who used to walk on the Bund around 40 years ago said that over the years a lot of things have changed with people resorting to absolute indifference and callousness about the preservation of the Bund’s heritage character.
“We used to see foreigners taking this route to enjoy nature as this place used to offer an ultimate silence but now it is just like any other area,” said Shakeel Ahmad Mir who is running a shop along the Bund near Poloview.
The historians state that the Bund was developed during the Dogra period as a walkway for British tourists and officers who used to stay mostly in houseboats along the walkway.
The Emporium building along the Bund near Zero bridge as per the historians was originally a British Residency which in turn added to the beauty of the Bund and provided a natural walkway for those who used to put up there.
While the residents said that walking through the Bund used to be a privilege as it was considered as Royal route, they also said that over the years, it has been rendered to no less than a mess.
“There was so much admiration for it that locals used to wear new clothes before walking through the Bund, but see it now, it has been wasted,” a local said.
Chief Engineer Irrigation and Flood Control department, Kashmir Iftikhar Kakroo told Excelsior that the Department will make sure that there is a total ban on the vehicular traffic on the bund and that it will also make sure that the encroachments that have taken place over the years are also removed.