Pampore, July 21: Authorities have been battling to maintain one-kilometer road stretch from Sampora to Panthachowk on National Highway on the outskirts of Srinagar.
The problem appeared after authorities allowed construction of a residential colony and commercial structures on the agricultural land along the road that used to serve as a natural sink for the surface runoff. Due to lack of drainage, the stretch often remains waterlogged that has caused gaping potholes all along. The devastating floods of 2014 worsened the situation as muck and silt blocked the only outlet available to drain the accumulated water on the road.
So far, authorities have been using hit and trial method to solve the issue. They raised the road surface by filling it with soil and gravel and construct drainage on one side. However, none of the measures worked and the problem persisted.
The commuters alleged that the road stretch was the victim of Government’s ill-planning and misplaced priorities. “How did a residential colony come up under the nose of Government? Are they unaware or turning a blind eye? They are responsible for the problem,” Riyaz Ahmad, a pedestrian said, adding that thousands take this road every day, but even that did not seem to have woken up the officials.
Mohammad Yaseen, a regular commuter, said the conditions of the road worsened in last four years and journey on the stretch was back-breaking. “The road was repaired several times but the patchwork eroded with the first rain. It terrible and we have been facing it for last four-five years,” he said, adding that the vehicles have to travel at snail’s pace.
During sunny days clouds of dust rise up in the air and causes inconvenience to commuters. “During hot weather one cannot open a window as the dust directly enters your lungs causing problems in breathing. Besides, the dust reduces visibility which is bad for drivers,” another commuter said.
Chief Engineer, Roads and Building Department, Sami Arif, when contacted said that lack of drainage has been damaging the road stretch frequently and they would soon resolve the issue. “We have constructed drainage on one side of the road and tenders have been floated for the other side,” he said, adding that it was a long-standing problem and needed a permanent solution.