Shopian-Bijbehara road likely to be completed soon, work in full swing

Suhail Bhat

Srinagar, Sept 11: The long-awaited Shopian-Bijbehara road, which has experienced delays, is scheduled to be completed by the end of the year since the majority of the construction work is complete and progress on the last leg is being made swiftly.
Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways approved funding of Rs 48.93 crore for the development of this crucial connecting link, with a two-year completion target, but the project faced delays.
“There were many factors involved, ranging from lack of funds to the project’s implementation being amended a few times. But all the issues have been resolved now and work is in the final stages,” an official privy to the details said.
The road is crucial for connecting over 20 villages to the district of Anantnag in South Kashmir, as well as joining the old Mughal route with the Srinagar-Jammu highway near Bijbehara town. This will also connect several areas with the railway station Bijbehara.
Officials said that moving utilities, such as electric poles and water pipelines, by relevant departments caused the project to be delayed. The road was intended to be finished in two years but has missed many deadlines. “The process was initially delayed for a while since there were not enough funds to switch utilities, but that problem has since been remedied,” an official said.
Chief Engineer of the Roads and Buildings Department, Rafiq Ahmad told Excelsior that the project is “substantially complete” and will be finished soon. “The project is moving along extremely well, and because all of the important works have been finished, we anticipate it being finished in the next two months. We are currently removing certain bottlenecks,” he said, adding that 15 of the original 25 kilometers have been finished, and work is currently being done on the final 10 kilometers.
The locals said that although the project had been in limbo for a while, recent advances had given them renewed optimism. “This project is really important and will greatly benefit people. We can travel faster by using the road to get to Anantnag. Currently, we have to travel to Shopian, Pulwama, and then either the National Highway or another area of the Valley from there,” Basit Ahmad, a local said.