Executing agency, JKPCC, blames paucity of funds for delay
The construction of bridge over river Jehlum at Jetty area of Khawajabagh in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district awaits completion even as 17 years have passed since the work on it was started.
People of Baramulla and adjacent areas rue they continue to suffer in want of the bridge since 2002 when the work on the bridge was actually started.
“Seventeen years back, the work on the bridge was started and it is yet to see the dawn of completion. The construction work on the bridge was suspended several times during this time, and the consecutive governments have only shown non seriousness in its completion,” said locals.
The 262-meter bridge will connect Khawajabagh and Janbazpora areas, and Rafiabad areas with Srinagar-Baramulla road highway. Locals said that completion of bridge would reduce the travel time and lessen the traffic rush in the town.
“I had just entered college when the construction work was started on the bridge. Since then I completed my masters, got a job in government, married and have two kids, but the bridge is yet to be completed. The pace with which the construction is going on, it seems it may take another 17 years," said Muzammil Ahmad Shah, a resident of Janbazpora.
He said that the bridge would help the residents of dozens of villages both in saving the time and in their businesses.
Jammu and Kashmir Projects Construction Corporation (JKPCC), the executing agency, blamed the paucity of funds for the delay in the project.
“Scarcity of funds was the main reason for delay of the project,” Deputy General Manager JKPCC Shabir Ahmad said.
“The construction of bridge was initiated with an estimated cost of Rs 15.65 crore and later the cost was revised to Rs 21.37 cr from which only 6.22 cr were released,” said another JKPCC official, adding the last installment of Rs 102.50 lakh was released to JKPCC in the year of 2016-2017.
Official said the work on bridge was stopped in 2014 only to resume in 2017. However, the work was stopped again due to non-availability of funds.
They added that the best time period for the construction of bridges was in winters due to low water level but without funds no work can be completed.
In 2017, in response to a query by legislator Ghulam Nabi Monga in the legislative council, the government had replied that the work at Jetty Bridge will be completed by March 2018.