By: Ahmed Shabir
Pahalgam: Disappointed with the alleged lethargy displayed by the authorities, the residents of twin villages in Pahalgam area of South Kashmir’s Anantnag district have finally resolved to construct a bridge over Lidder river on their own.
The people from Bagwani and Amad villages in Pahalgam have pooled money to construct the bridge, which remained a distant dream for them in the last one decade.
After waiting for a decade for the authorities to construct the approach roads on both sides of the bridge over Lidder river, the residents of twin villages of Pahalgam have finally pooled money to construct it.
The construction of approach roads by the locals out of their own pockets has finally connected the two vast areas of Dachnipora and Khowripora.
The bridge over the Lidder river near Bagwani village of Sallar in Pahalgam Tehsil was sanctioned in 2005. The work on the project was, however, started in 2009. The executing agency for the project was JKPCC and the deadline for the completion of the same was set in 2011. The bridge was completed a year later at the estimated cost of 8 crore rupees.
The construction of the bridge was aimed at connecting Sallar area of Dachnipora with that of Aishmuqam area and many other villages of Khowripora.
However, after completion of the bridge which raised the hopes of people that the two areas will get connected after decades, the authorities abandoned it without constructing the approach roads.
In the last ten years, locals said, they approached all the relevant quarters pleading for construction of approach roads passing through nallah but their pleas were never heeded.
The approach roads were to be constructed by the Roads and Building (R&B) department.
Fed up with the attitude of the authorities, the residents of twin villages a few days back finally decided to pool money and construct approach roads on both sides of the bridge themselves.
A local, Mushtaq Ahmad told Precious Kashmir that they collected money from almost every household in both the villages and started work on the construction of approach roads four days ago.
“We have almost completed the construction of the approach road. Since there was no end to wait for the construction of approach roads by authorities we too lost patience and decided to do it on our own. This depicts the sorry state of affairs in Kashmir,” Ahmad said.
Another resident from Bagwani , Gulzar Ahmad Mir said that youth of the two villages located on two sides of the road took an initiative to construct the approach road.
“We laid soiling all the road from Bagwani to Aamad carrying out major repairs of the road from Sallar to Bagwani. At least three lakh rupees were spent on the construction of the road and all the money was collected by the youth of two villages,” Mir told Precious Kashmir.
He said that around 30 tippers of soling material were used for the purpose. “Besides we also hired a bulldozer to fill the potholes first and then used the roller to make the road smooth. It will prove to be a major relief for the people of the area. In the absence of the road earlier people often had to carry patients on stretchers to take them to hospitals,” Mir said.
Locals now demand the macadamisation of the road for which they have laid the foundation. “Since macadamization of the road will consume huge amount and the villagers can’t afford the same. Now that we have laid the foundation of the road, the government should go for its macadamization as the villagers can’t afford it” Mir further said.
Executive Engineer, Qazi Javed when contacted regretted the construction of the road by the people themselves.
“After I took over as Exen, I on priority sent a proposal to the government for construction of the approach road. But that has not been approved yet. Though the Commissioner was very committed to approving this proposal, Covid halted everything. I am hopeful that the government will very soon grant approval to the proposal,” Exen said.
He said that it has pained me to learn that people have pooled money for construction of the same. “Had I come to know about it earlier, I wouldn’t have allowed them to do it on their own,” the officer told Precious Kashmir.