Srinagar: A large number of people Wednesday staged a protest against the State Government for failing to open up Zero Bride for vehicular movement. The protesters alleged that buckling under pressure from VVIPs, and the leaders of some political parties the government has shelved its plan to restore traffic on the bridge and instead it is now mulling to construct shops on either side of the historical bridge.
The bridge is close to the high security Church Lane area, which houses the private office of the chief minister, state guest houses where VVIP’s stay during their visits and the official residences of dozens of ministers, senior civil and police officers. Adjacent to the bridge are the party headquarters of National Conference and the offices of Radio Kashmir and Door Darshan. It was closed for vehicular traffic in 1990s after the eruption of militancy in Valley and only pedestrian movement was allowed on this historic bridge after its closure, as paramilitary bunkers were constructed on both sides of the bridge.
The bridge that was dismantled in April 2012 was supposed to be thrown open for vehicular movement as had been promised by Roads and Buildings Minister Syed Altaf Bukhari to us. We were shocked to learn government has back tracked from its promise after the officials from Radio Kashmir, Door Darshan and some political leaders asked it not to allow traffic on the bridge. This is simply a sign of autocracy, some of the protesters told CNS.
The protesters demanded that all the security bunkers present at the extreme end of the road near Radio Kashmir should be removed. We will launch an agitation against the government if it will disallow vehicular movement on the bridge and we will not allow the government to construct kiosks and shops on either side of this historic bridge, the protesters said.
Minister for Roads and Buildings was not available for the comments as according to an official he is out of station while Chief Engineer R&B Sathis Razdan didnt respond to repeated phone calls.
Pertinently, Zero Bridge was constructed in 1950s when late Bakhshi Ghulam Muhammad was the prime minister of Jammu and Kashmir. (CNS)
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