Press Trust of India

 Dilapidated footbridge poses threat to commuters in Bhaderwah, allege locals

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Bhaderwah: A wooden footbridge, constructed over the Neeru river here about six decades ago to provide surface link to several villages, is in a highly dilapidated condition and poses a risk to commuters including students and elderly people.

The 38-metre-long bridge connecting half-a-dozen villages with Bhaderwah town near Rainda village in Jammu and Kashmir’s Doda district is in shambles with both sides of its fencing and floor damaged at many places over the years.

Besides Rainda, which is located just one kilometre from Bhaderwah town, the residents of Dhumanda, Dalain, Thubba, Wazir Kotli and Chabcha depend on the bridge to travel outside their villages after it was constructed in 1962 using timber including cedar from the nearby forests.

“For the past 20 years, the villagers have been demanding a replacement for the damaged bridge which caters to over 2,000 population, many of whom use the bridge daily to reach their destinations and bring essentials like ration from the town,” Joginder Kumar (70), a resident of Rainda village, told PTI.

Villagers said they have pleaded before the authorities several times to either replace the 61-year-old damaged bridge with the steel plated one, or at least repair it for the safety of the school going children.

“Roads and Buildings Department officials have carried out surveys of the bridge more than 50 times in the past two decades, rekindling hope every time that we will get a safe bridge but unfortunately nothing happened on the ground,” Shri Krishan Sharma (68) said.

Amit Kuma Sharma said they are fed up with false promises.

“It’s really painful to being in a state of fear all the time, especially during rains when the water level in Neeru almost touches the surface of the bridge. We have no other option but to cross the worn out bridge to reach the other side of the river,” he said.

Assistant Executive Engineer, Roads and Buildings, Bhaderwah, Mushtaq Ahmed Sheikh admitted that the old foot bridge is in a “very bad condition” and said they have already sent a detailed project report to NABARD worth Rs 2.15 crore for construction of a motorable bridge on the river.

“The district administration has taken up the issue on top priority considering the safety of the people. As of now, we will send a team of engineers for safety checks and, if necessary, the bridge will be closed for people. The people are requested to avoid crossing the bridge and instead use Sarolbagh bridge,” the officer said.

Sarolbagh bridge is three kilometres away from Rainda bridge.

 


Press Trust of India

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