Kick-start work on Mandi bypass bridge

Pilgrimage to ancient Budha Amarnath shrine located in Rajpura Mandi in Poonch town is carrying its own importance and the levels of high devotion which is scheduled to start just from August 5 but a vital bridge to be used by the pilgrims, under construction for some time, had May 2019 as the deadline for completion of the work. The fact of the matter is that not only has the deadline been missed but the work on it has been abandoned by the executing agency , the Jammu and Kashmir Construction Corporation (JKPCC) which coincidentally happens to be State Government owned agency. This bridge, apart from being paramount for smooth pilgrimage to the ancient famous shrine is also used by the Army for movement of its vehicles for reaching forward locations in Sawjian sector along the Line of Control (LoC) of Poonch district. The work stands totally suspended for the last seven months without any inkling, as on date, about its likely restart.
Right from the beginning, it is reported that a piecemeal approach in its construction and the work on it being in fits and starts has brought this bridge to such a pass. Besides , lack of professionalism in the executing agency , the JKPCC to the extent of being ill-equipped and directionless whether to execute the entire work in full or some portion thereof getting done by private contractors at some premium percentage of as high as 25 to 30 percent, has worsened the situation. When we talk of the Corporation being ill equipped, we refer to absence of it being in possession of the modern and advanced technology oriented machinery thus making sufficient room for sub-leasing or sub-letting to private companies. If that is with full acquiesce of the State Roads and Buildings Department, it was then obligatory for the Department to allot , through tendering process , the entire work on this bridge to a Private Company which would have looked to the full work from start to the end. Half way and half-baked decisions usually taken by the State administration, as in the instant case, do result in such confusion and mess.
The State Government, perhaps, having other priorities to attend, has never embarked upon to find out the causes of sickness of the Corporation so as to inject remedial and strengthening measures into it to make it worth an agency owned by the State Government. Why a mess is created in respect of this bridge , no private contractors are ready to undertake the left over work and now the JKPCC finding itself in a quandary has decided to do the pending work on this important bridge all by itself, not only the bridge but the bypass road too. After all, who is concerned about the difficulties, this incomplete bridge brings in its wake ? There are long traffic jams, Mandi hospital is affected as its ambulances for emergency calls cannot freely move , Shree Budha Amarnath pilgrims face hardships, areas like Loran and Sawjian become ‘held up’ for hours due to traffic chaos , erratic and haphazard parking of vehicles makes things worse but the authorities being in know of this all , a lesser big project of Rs.11.25 crore started earnestly demand early completion of the pending work on this important bridge. We, therefore, hope that the State administration would deal with the issue with all the seriousness and urgency which it deserves.