Four Years On, Sumbal Foot-Bridge Over River Jhelum Awaits Completion

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Ejaz-ul-haq Bhat            Sumbal Foot-Bridge

Bandipora: More than four years have passed since the foundation stone was laid for the construction of a footbridge over river Jhelum in Sumbal area of North Kashmir’s Bandipora district, it is yet to be completed, leaving people suffer immensely.

According to wire service-Kashmir News Observer (KNO), that due to the unavailability of the foot-bridge over river Jhelum in the area, the residents have to face a lot of inconveniences.

The locals said that after the foundation stone was laid the work on the bridge was started in 2015 but only a pillar was raised and then the work was left mid-way.

“Since then no work on the bridge was initiated. Even we have many times approached the concerned authorities but our pleas seem to have fallen on deaf ears as they (authorities) have failed to initiate work on the construction of the footbridge,” they said.

The footbridge was to be constructed at the cost of 416 lakh to connect dozens of Safapora and Nesbal villages with Sumbal Township. However, more than three years have passed after the foundation stone was laid only 25 percent work has been completed on the bridge so far.

“On 26th of February 2014, the then Minister for R&B, Abdul Majid Wani and the then Minister for Higher Education, Muhammad Akbar Lone (Member Parliament now), laid the foundation stone for the construction of the footbridge over river Jhelum but since then no work was done on the bridge,” said Mushtaq Ahmad, a local resident of Nesbal.

He said that they have to face a lot of hardships as government and the concerned department has failed to construct the bridge even after passing of more than four years.

“The authorities seem to be in deep slumber as they couldn’t even laid the base structure to construct the bridge during last four years, speaking volumes about the callous attitude of the government and the concerned department,” he said. “Even after receiving funds from the government the R&B department has failed to construct the bridge.

We have to cross over to another side of the river Jhelum by boats, the only mode of transport connecting us with Sumbal,” said Muhammad Amin, another local resident.

He said that they cannot reach the hospital in time and other offices which are located in the Sumbal Irrigation Colony due to the unavailability of the footbridge. “All major government offices and Community Health Centre are located in Sumbal and it becomes very difficult to reach there in time. We have to carry patients in boats to get them treated at CHC Sumbal or we have to travel 10-12 KM’s via Safapora to reach there,” he said.

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