More than a decade on, residents of Kulgam district still await the completion of the 350-meter-long Ashmuji-Kilam bridge over the Veshaw river, the construction of which had begun in 2010.
The bridge was sanctioned in 2007 and will connect villages like Ashmuji, Kelam, Gund, Devsar and Zangalpora. The construction of the bridge was taken up at an estimated cost of ₹14.75 crore with an estimated completion by 2013.
“The work was taken up by the Jammu and Kashmir Projects Construction Corporation (JKPCC), however the work had been either on halt or gone on slow pace all those years,” said Arif Manzoor, a resident of Ashmuji. “The bridge is now constructed under Roads and Buildings Department but still the work is not consistent and the completion is delayed because of which people of different villages suffer.”
Gul Mohammad Bhat, a resident of Gund-Kilam village, said that the bridge will also improve connectivity between Pulwama, Shopian, and Qazigund area in Kulgam through which the highway to Jammu passes. “During the fruit season, it will make travelling outside the valley easier,” he said, adding that “we are living in a flood prone area, we demand the completion of the Gund-kilam bridge as soon as possible. it is the need of an hour in present for safety majors of the vast population.”
According to Waseeem Ali, another resident of Ashmuji, the Kulgam District Commission, Bilal Mohiudin Bhat, had visited the site on 8 April, this year, and directed the R&B Department to complete the work on the approach road to the bridge within two months. “But the ground situation remains the same,” said Ali.
Executive Engineer of the R&B in Kulgam district Riyaz Ahmad didn’t respond to several calls and text messages from The Kashmir Walla.