PMGSY, R&B still ‘indecisive’ of jurisdiction, road stretch awaits macadamisation from 8 years
By: Ahmed Shabir
Anantnag: The 20-kilometers Achabal-Chitirgul road stretch in South Kashmir’s Anantnag district has failed to get a proper caretaker as both the stakeholders including PMGSY and Roads and Building department have failed to macadamize the road stretch from last eight years, thus adding to the miseries of the commuters.
In the last couple of years, the government might have started widening of even the link roads but the busy and important Achabal-Chitirgul road continues to be dotted with big potholes for years. The badly damaged road is not only inconveniencing the commuters but damaging the vehicles of poor drivers as well.
The road connecting over twenty villages of the area with Tehsil and district headquarters, according to residents of the area was last time macadamised in 2013.
“After being macadamised eight years ago the road with the passage of time again suffered damage due to the heavy snowfall during winters. For the last over three years, the busy road is almost non-motorable but authorities never bothered to macadamise or repair the same,” said a local social activist from Utrasoo Javed Ahmad Khan.
To avoid damage to their private vehicles, most of the people of these villages, Khan said, chose the interior roads to reach their destinations.
“It is agonising for even a normal person to travel on the road. It virtually breaks your bones. For patients with ortho problems and elderly people using passenger vehicles, travel on this road has become more than an agony. We have been crying and knocking the doors of the people at helm for several years to invite their attention but nobody is listening,” Khan told Precious Kashmir.
Besides the commuters who suffer due to the potholed road, it is the poor drivers who have to bear the brunt.
On sunny days, Muzaffar said, the road resembles that of a dusty path while in case of rains it virtually turns into a cesspool.
“People living along the road in many villages suffer badly as they inhale heavy volumes of dust triggered by the plying of vehicles. And when it rains it is almost impossible to walk on the road,” he rued.
A local driver registered with the Urasoo Sumo stand and plying from Achabal to Chitirgul said that in the last five months his vehicle suffered damages at least three times.
“Once it cost me eight thousand rupees and twice damage was around 3000 rupees. Whatever we earn a month, half of it goes into the repair of our vehicles. Nobody listens to us,”
“We beg you to invite the attention of authorities towards this dilapidated road so that they wake up and macadamise it. It will be in your favor to the people of the area, particularly the poor drivers,” Javed said.
President of the Utrasoo Sumo stand, Muzafar Ahmad rued that both politicians and administration ignored their repeated pleas for setting the road right to end the agonies of the people.
“We approached the former local MLA, Gulzar Ahmad Wani besides the top officers of the district admin many times but nothing happened. Yes before the DDC polls they had done patchwork of the road to lure the people but the heavy snowfall removed all those patches again. We are now exhausted making rounds of the offices of the authorities,” president said.
He rued that at least 400 drivers who have availed loans from banks and are registered with different stands from Achabal to Chittergul instead of earning their living have to suffer losses only.
“Many drivers who suffered heavy damages to their vehicles in the last three years finally decided to sell their vehicles. They are now doing other jobs. We appeal to the honorable governor to intervene personally and get the road macadamised” president said.
An official source, however, said that the macadamisation of the road is being delayed due to the tussle between PMGSY and R and B.
“Actually the road presently is under the jurisdiction of PMGSY. Few years ago it was decided that the same be shifted to R and B to which the latter agreed. Later R and B refused to take it over causing delay in its macadamisation. The road seems to be nobody’s baby making people suffer,” said the source.
Executive engineer, PMGSY, Khalid Muzaffar admitted that the road is badly damaged but added that the road was supposed to be set right five years ago under a particular scheme and the funds meant for it were lapsed.
“Later the road was supposed to be taken over by the R&B department which they refused.
“We often raised the issue with them but they did not take it over. Now the superintending engineer has floated tenders for macadamisation of around seven kms. Once the tendering process gets completed work on the road will be started,” Executive Engineer told Precious Kashmir.