Commuters face tough time as Chadoora bridge remains incomplete

IRFAN RASHID

Chadoora

The residents of Chadoora and adjoining areas are facing a tough time after the repair work on the main bridge connecting Charar-i-Sharief with Srinagar is yet to start even after year it was damaged in floods.
The bridge was a key link between Srinagar and Budgam town and was inaugurated 1-year back with local residents alleging use of, “
sub-standard material in the construction work which lead to its collapse.’’
A temporary diversion over the stream that flows under the bridge is used for commuting. But due to the narrow stretch of road connecting with the temporary iron bridge the vehicles that travel to different areas remain stranded even for hours here.
The traffic jams get worse between 4 to 4:30 when the offices close down and bridge gets blocked for even 1-hour. The local residents have to take an alternate route of pot-holed roads to reach Srinagar increasing the risk of accidents. Also in the absence of deployment of adequate number of traffic police personnel on the Chadoor-Srinagar road, the jams are frequent.
The police personnel who have been deployed around the market are unable to check the traffic jams and even the heavy vehicles like trucks and buses are allowed to ply on the iron bridge.  The vehicles are allowed to be parked outside the shops in the main Chadoora market by the police leading to traffic jams.
After the last years floods, the iron bridge was constructed immediately however it collapsed during a recent rainfall following which it was again re-constructed.
Residents alleged that the laxity on the part of the Authorities has been responsible for the damage to the old bridge in last year’s floods. The locals alleged that construction of Eidgah and the bus stand adjacent to the stream has reduced its water carrying capacity due to which the bridge collapsed in the 2014 floods. “  Construction of bus stand and Eid Gah has shrunk the space under the bridge due to which water level rose in the stream in last year’s rains leaving not only the market flooded but even damaged the bridge,” said a local resident.
“Due to the absence of the bridge the traffic jams have become frequent here,” said a resident, Sheeraz Ahmad.
After the floods the bridge was declared unsafe  for traffic by the R&B department and no vehicular movement was allowed over it. On one of the sides of  the bridge iron grille was raised earlier to prevent traffic movement.
“A year after the bridge was damaged the state government has not been able to even dismantle to start the construction,” rued Sheeraz.
 “After crossing the alternate temporary diversion vehicles have to pass through a narrow lane from where only one vehicle can cross, but the heavy vehicles are also allowed to ply on the road leading to traffic jams,” said a resident, Bashir Ahmad.
During emergency situations the ambulances remain stranded in the lane that leads towards the market. The residents said that during rains they face difficulties in commuting over the bridge. The unpaved road that connects with the alternate bridge gets slippery after the rain which increases the risk of mishaps.
The concerned authorities need to speed up the repair work on the bridge. How long shall we have to suffer?” asked Mudasir Ahmad, a University student from Chrar-i-Sharief.
“There was no point spending money on the alternate bridge and the government could have utilized the funds to rebuild the old bridge. This speaks a lot about the unplanned utilization of the funds and incompetence of the R&B Department,” said, Mudasir. “Had the R&B department completed repair work on main bridge in time there would have been no need to construct an alternate bridge,” he added.
The 40 meter alternate bridge has been completed at a cost of Rs 30 lakh, sources said.
When contacted, Executive Engineer, R&B Chadoora, Hakeem Din, said, “We have handed over the work to Jammu and Kashmir Project Construction Corporation (JKPCC) and are hoping that they would complete it soon.”
Deputy General Manager JKPCCC, Mufti Imran said, “We have dismantled the damaged portion and will complete the construction of the bridge soon.”
Residents have appealed the Roads and Buildings (R&B) Minister, Altaf Bukhari, to intervene in the matter and complete the work on the bridge at the earliest.
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