SRINAGAR: A wooden footbridge, connecting four mohallas, at Yusuf Abad Bemina is on verge of collapse. Built in 1987, the 20-meter long footbridge over Bemina canal is in bad shape, posing a serious threat to commuters. Heavy rains and flash floods in the recent years have weakened the foundation pillars of the bridge. The broken planks of the footbridge leave wide gaps, making it dangerous to cross particularly in dark.
Accidents on the bridge are a common thing. Local residents count many incidents when teenagers or sometimes cattle have fallen from the bridge and sustained injuries. They said they had repeatedly asked the concerned authorities to construct a concrete bridge, but no action has been taken till date.
“In the past five years, the concerned authorities have only been making cost estimates and giving false assurances. They seem to be least bothered. Even the incidents of falling of children from the footbridge have failed to wake them up,” said Syed Sibti Ali Safvi, chairman of Bemina Development Forum.
Safvi said that in October this year a boy had fallen from the footbridge and the forum had approached the district development commissioner Budgam urging him to issue instructions for the construction of new concrete footbridge to avert a potential disaster.
“The deputy commissioner Budgam sought the cost estimate from R&B department and assured the delegation that the matter will be taken up at priority. The R&B division Budgam again, for the fourth time, forwarded the cost estimate to the office of the deputy Commisioner. But instead of keeping the promise, the CPO Budgam says the district administration has no funds to start the work. This demonstrates the level of callousness of the district administration,” Safvi said, adding that the decaying footbridge symbolises the decades of indifference and official apathy towards Bemina.
“The estimated cost for construction of new bridge is less than six lakhs. Unfortunately, the district administration cannot afford the amount to save the lives of people. The deputy commissioner Budgam dreams of making Budgam the Gurgaon of J&K. I am sure that dream cannot be materialised unless he starts delivering on ground,”Safvi added.
The forum has appealed to the chief minister, R&B minister, Divisional Commisioner to look into the matter to ensure the safety of commuters.
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