Locals, Commuters demand widening of Bathipora road in Kulgam
Post by Younus Rashid on Tuesday, November 1, 2022
The residents of Manzgam and adjoining villages of south Kashmir’s Kulgam district are demanding the widening of the road from Bathipora to Manzgam.
The road was constructed in 1957 during the Bakshi Ghulam Mohammad’s reign and the administration at that time would store the essentials in the depots there for winter use. Ironically, since then the road has never been widened and exists at the same width. Residents claim that due to the narrow road, it is sometimes impossible for two vehicles to cross easily.
The locals said that the road is less than 12 feet wide and makes it difficult for commuters to travel smoothly on this busy route.
Shabir Ahmad, a local resident told Rising Kashmir that the road has become a real puzzle for the locals and that there is no official attention to this genuine problem.
“The houses built along the road from Bhatipora to Manzgam have been piling up and during the winters the snow from rooftops assembles on the road which results in a complete blockade of this road. And virtually no snow-cutters can clear the road,” he said.
He said that the area is hilly and witnesses heavy snowfall during winters.
"The winter months are near and we appeal to the administration to start the road widening process in order to ease the problems of locals here,” he added.
The locals said that the livelihood of people in the area is largely the apple crop and fruit-laden vehicles ply on this road only during the harvest and it becomes difficult for other vehicles to ply on the same route.
It is pertinent to mention that this road saves 4 kilometres and half the travel time for Manzgam residents by reaching their destination through Chogalpora.
“Almost ten villages in the vicinity have the closest hospital in Manzgam and, considering the narrow road, it becomes hectic for patients to go to the hospital,” said another resident Sheraz Ahmad.
Locals said that last winter, a local patient died at PHC Manzgam, and due to heavy snowfall in the intermittent night and road blockade the patient's dead body couldn’t be taken home for the final rites due to the snow assembled on the road from the rooftops, especially in the area from main Chowk Manzgam to PHC Manzgam and even officials showed their helplessness in clearing the road and the dead body was stuck for days.
Pertinent to mention is that Manzgam higher secondary school, fire service station, block development office, sheep and animal husbandry department, and two other private schools all fall across this road and it's not only difficult for vehicles to ply on it but for pedestrians to walk around too.
They appealed to the authorities either to start the road widening process or keep it open for pedestrian purposes only.
An official from PMGSY said that they had submitted a DPR for the up gradation of this road but it couldn’t take off.
“The Detailed Project Report (DPR) was submitted for its up gradation but in June it was withheld; since we don’t have schemes that will compensate the landlords,” he said.