Political interference hampers construction of Sampora Bridge

A view of an incomplete Sampora bridge on the outskirts of Srinagar.
A view of an incomplete Sampora bridge on the outskirts of Srinagar.

Suhail Bhat
Srinagar, Sept 27: An alleged political interference has stalled the construction work on Sampora bridge on the outskirts of Srinagar, causing problems of commuting for thousands of people living in the area.
The locals lamented that the construction work on a 140 meters bridge was stalled after an opposition leader visited their area in the month of March this year, “The construction work was stopped a few days after his visit. We approached the authorities concerned but they have nothing to say,” Mohammad Sidiq, a local from Seerbagh said, adding some of the officials, however, hinted towards a political interference in the construction work.
With an estimated cost of Rs 13.30 crores, the construction work on the bridge was started a few years ago. So far, only half of the work is done, forcing people to take longer routes to reach the district headquarters and the Srinagar- Jammu National Highway.
The locals demanded that the work on the bridge should be speeded up and it should be made mortorable at the earliest. “It is for the first time a bridge is being constructed near our village. We are facing grave difficulties due to the incomplete bridge and urge the authorities to complete its construction in a stipulated time,” Sara Akhter, a local said, adding in absence of the bridge, the locals are forced to board fishing boats to cross the Jhelum river.
The locals told Excelsior that bridge would have not only connected them to Srinagar- Jammu National Highway but also cut their travel time to highway considerably. “The bridge would have reduced our travel time by an hour. Right now we either have to cross the river by boats or have to take longer routes, through Lasjan to reach the national highway and it takes us more than an hour,” Abdul Ahad, a local of Sampora said. He added that the villagers have been requesting the concerned authorities to speed up the work but to no avail.
Chief Engineer Roads and Building Department, Sami Arif, denied any political interference in the construction work and maintained that the work is underway. “Work is going on. There is no political interference,” he said, adding the delay was because of funds shortage.