Multi-crore Bijbehara-Sirhama Road widening project drags on for 5 years

ESS AHMAD. Dated: 7/8/2020 1:50:58 AM

Potholed long patches agonise commuters, villagers, DC assures action

ANANTNAG, July 7: In 2016, the authorities sanctioned the widenining and macadamization of Bijbehara-Sirhama road under the central sponsored scheme PMGSY. Soon after the widening of the road was approved, PMGSY authorities started work on the same. People heaved a sigh of relief, hoping that the road-widening and black topping would put an end to their agonising travel on the road connecting several villages to the tehsil and district headquarters. However, the multi-crore widening project drags on for five years with the result the people living in the villages located along the road continue to suffer.
Though, the widening of the road all along from Bijbehara to Sirhama was completed more than two years ago but several long patches of the road continue to remain un-macadamised.
Earlier the road was only narrow but the widening worsened the condition of the road. The patches of the road from Mahind to K Kalan and Wopzan to Kandipora are so damaged that people of several villages chose other long routes to reach Tehsil and district headquarters.
The road at these places is now reduced to a muddy path with huge potholes.
"The road at several places is almost non-motorable. It is no less than an agony to travel on this road," said a resident of Wopzan.
The potholed patches of the road are not only giving tough times to the travellers but the residents of several villages as well.
"Even when a two wheeler passes through the road, heavy volumes of dust emanate from it troubling the people. In case of rains, the potholes get filled with water making it difficult for the people to walk," said another resident.
Sources in PMGSY, the executing agency, said that the compensation issues arising out of the demolition of residential and commercial structures for widening of the road initially caused delay in the completion of the project but now blame the PHE department for hindering the completion of the project.
"Now that almost all the compensation issues stand solved now, the only hindrance in the macadamization of the several long patches of the road is due to the PHE department which has not laid down water pipes along the road," said an official of the PMGSY.
He said that unless the PHE fixes water pipes, they cannot go for macadamization of the remaining patches.
"Though we macadamised several patches of the road without waiting for PHE to fix new pipes but we are sure that nce the PHE fixes new pipes the black topped road will get damaged again. We cannot afford to spend crores of rupees on macadamization and then PHE coming to damage it," an official said.
Though the top PHE authorities have released funds for fixing of new water pipes along the road but PHE department, PMGSY official said, have not laid even a single pipe in last four years.
Locals have expressed dismay over delay in the completion of the multi-crore widening project.
"We ask the top officials of the district administration to travel on the road only once and see how agonising it is. The project is dragging on for almost five years and the authorities seem to be least bothered about the trouble faced by the people due to the bad condition of the road," said a group of people from the area.
They said that it is the job of the executing agency to take up the issue with the top authorities of PHE and resolve the issue.
"They cannot simply shift the blame on PHE and escape. If PHE is the barrier in the completion of the project let the executing agency register a complaint with district administration," said a local from Mahind.
Deputy Commissioner, Anantnag, K K Sidha assured that he will look into the matter.
"I will surely take up the issue with the concerned agency," DC said.



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