People cross Jhelum in a boat due to delayed construction of bridge in Pulwama
People cross Jhelum in a boat due to delayed construction of bridge in Pulwama | Photo Credit: Younis Khaliq

SRINAGAR — The prolonged delays in completing two crucial bridges over the Jhelum River in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district are causing hardships to residents of over a dozen villages, according to locals. The work on the Dogripora and Reshipora bridges, started in 2007 and 2008 respectively, are yet to be completed, leaving locals grappling with challenges.

Mukhtar Ahmad, a resident of Dogripora village of Awantipora, expressed concern over the slow progress, saying many people have met with accidents while attempting to cross the Jhelum on boats due to the absence of the bridge.

“These bridges are vital as they would connect numerous villages with the national highway at Pujteng, Sethar, and over 50 villages with the Panzgam Pulwama railway station,” Ahmad said as per the news agency KNO. He added that the ongoing project under JKPCC witnesses intermittent work, causing prolonged delays and problems for the local population.

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Burhan Ahmad, another local, expressed frustration at the slow pace of construction, despite assurances from higher officials. “Completion of the bridge would shorten the distance between Tral and Shahoora areas in Pulwama, benefiting the local community,” he said.

Residents from Reshipora village highlighted the inconvenience caused by having to travel 10 kilometres to reach the highway when the bridge could cut the distance to just half a kilometre. They said there is a dire need to complete the bridge to facilitate connectivity between Tral and Shahoora.

While numerous bridges in the district have been completed in the last 15 years, the Dogripora and Reshipora bridges remain unfinished, they said, adding that the lack of public transport in these areas further compounds the challenges faced by residents.

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Ghulam Nabi, a local resident, expressed concerns about the safety of school children who have to cross the Jhelum by boat to reach school or college. “Despite appeals to officials, there has been no progress on the matter,” he said.

An official said that work on the Dogripora bridge is ongoing, with pillar work completed, and the pending work expected to conclude soon. “Regarding the Reshipora bridge, there is a proposal change, but the revised plan is yet to receive approval,” he said.

The distressed locals have urged higher authorities to intervene at the earliest and expedite the completion of these vital bridges.

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