Kunzer bridge awaits completion even after 14 years

Sajad Hameed

The bridge in Kunzer area of Baramulla district is incomplete even after fourteen years, while commuters continue to suffer.
Construction of the bridge was started in 2004 but is still awaiting completion even as 14 years have passed.
The bridge is being constructed over Kunzar stream and was supposed to connect dozens villages including Bamoorada, Harde Aboora, Karhama, Ogmuna, Kechhmatipora, Pariswani, Dardepora, Devpora, Chake Fraste Reshi,Chandil-Wanigam, Badrekoot, Gogaldour, Ogmuna, Bonagam, Gonipora, Chanpoa, Ratnipora and Kasai Mohalla with Kunzar on Srinagar-Gulmarg highway.
The locals of the area said that non-completion of the bridge is giving tough time to them as it takes a long route to reach on the Highway.
Abdul Karim Dar, a local resident, while speaking to Precious Kashmir said that they have to face immense hardships due to the non-completion of the bridge as they have to cover a long distance to reach on the National Highway.
“The bridge used to be a valuable asset for us as it connects dozens of villages with the National Highway via Kunzar. The bridge was damaged in 2003 and in 2004 the construction of it was started but 14 years have passed, we are still waiting for its completion. Authorities and politicians often come and survey the bridge site but are not taking any concrete step to complete the construction of it,” he said.
Another local, Manzoor Ahmad, an apple orchard owner, said that the non-completion of the bridge is taking heavy toll on the farmers and the orchard owners in the surrounding villages as they have to incur more costs on transportation of fruits and farm produce.
Farmers and Orchard owners are the worst affected as they have to transport the fruits and farm produce through different areas. They have to spend double the amount on transportation. Earlier, we used to transport our fruits through this bridge but in absence of the bridge, the transportation of the fruits is becoming costly for us,” he said.
When contacted Bashir Ahmad Bhat, the Executive Engineer, Roads and Buildings (R&B) department said that the project was taken over by them last year and lack of funds is the reason for non-completion of the bridge.
“It was a languished project that was started by ERA in 2004 and left midway after the 2014 floods that washed away a part of it. Last year, we took over the project and made it partially functional. We made an estimated cost of around Rs 4.68 crores for the bridge and submitted it for the approval and we are waiting for the funds now,” he said.
Bhat said that 70% of the project has been completed and funds approved now, he added expressing hope that the bridge would be completed by the end of March next year.