Eight years on, Ashmuji-Kelam bridge far from completion

Srinagar, Apr 8: More than eight years after its construction was first taken up, the Ashmuji -Kelam-Gund bridge
in Kulgam district remains far from completion.
According to official records, the construction was taken up in 2010, with an aim to connect several Kulgam
villages. These villages include Ashmuji, Kelam, Gund, Devsar and Zangalpora.
The work was taken up by the Jammu and Kashmir Projects Construction Corporation (JKPCC), however, sources said,
that the work has been either on halt or going on at snail’s pace all these years.
Locals said “It was in 2010 when the foundation stone of this 350 meters bridge with an estimated cost of 14.75
crore rupees was laid by JKPCC with a promise of completing it in 2013. It is 2018 and the bridge is still
incomplete.”
“Government’s seriousness in the completion of the bridge can be gauged from the fact that it took over six years
for JKPCC to construct the main structure of the bridge. This speaks volumes about the callous attitude of the
government towards the miseries of the people,” alleges Abdul Rahman a local resident of Ashmuji.
“The work on the bridge started in early 2011 and continued at the slow pace till September 2014 when floods came
and washed away some of the construction material, thus giving JKPCC contactors an excuse to stop the work
altogether,” said another local Mushtaq Ahmad.
To minimize hardships, villagers have constructed a makeshift bridge over the river. “During the winter season
the makeshift bridge becomes slippery due to heavy snowfall in the area and it becomes risky to cross the bridge
especially for women and children,” said Ghulam Mohammad a resident of Gund village.
When contacted JKPCC DGM Kulgam, Hussain Dar, rues lack of required funds to complete the construction of the
bridge. “we have requested the government for requisition of funds. From last fifteen days, the work has been
resumed. The bridge will be completed at the end of this year,’’ informs Dar.