Azad inaugurates longest bridge in Kashmir

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Srinagar, Jun 7 (UNI) Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad here today inaugurated the longest bridge in Kashmir valley at Bemina constructed at a cost of Rs 10 crore.

The completion of the 284-metre-long bridge is the result of Mr Azad's keen interest in finishing the project that had been conceived in the 1980s, and work on which was started in 1990s.

However, it was left midway, causing severe inconvenience to a large section of population living on either side of the Flood Spill Channel and Doodhganga Nallah.

The inconvenience would compound during the times of floods and medical emergencies as the swollen water channels completely cut off these areas.

In July 2007, the Chief Minister visited the incomplete bridge site and realising the problem of the people, issued instructions to complete the bridge within 11 months.

The double-lane pre-stressed concrete bridge with 250-metre approach roads connects Srinagar with Budgam district headquarters.

The Chief Minister also inaugurated the 15 meter long steel Bailey bridge over Bemina canal at Goripora, a short distance from the newly launched Bemina Bridge.

The bridge was relocated from Ashai Bagh in the city where it had become surplus after the construction of a new bridge.

Mr Azad had also asked the Army to relocate the bridge to Goripora to facilitate easy movement of people in the area.

Speaking to mediapersons on the occasion, the Chief Minister said the completion of the bemina Bridge was pending for long.

He said when the issue was brought to his notice he visited the spot for stocktaking and found that a vast population was subjected to inconvenience and hardship due to prolonged delay in the completion of the bridge.

Mr Azad further said he asked the concerned project executing agency to complete the project within 11 months. The work was taken up in triple shift, and finally the facility was dedicated to the people today, he added.

The Chief Minister said one and a half years ago, the government took a decision to release funds in one go for the completion of the incomplete bridges so that connectivity problems in various areas of the state were adequately addressed.

Earlier, meager funds were annually released for such projects which resulted in the delay in completion on the one side and cost escalation on the other, he added.

The inconvenience to the public was a natural corollary for the delay in completion of these bridges, he said. The Chief Minister further cited the instance of the Bemina bridge saying that during the past 18 years, only 50 per cent of funds were spent on the project while the other 50 per cent were incurred during the last 11 months.

Mr Azad said he had also taken up with the Army Corps Commander the relocation of the Ashai Bagh bailey Bridge to Goripora and thanked him for executing the job swiftly.

The road on both sides of the bridge would now be improved shortly, he asserted.

Meanwhile, the launch of the Bemina bridge has brought respite to the local people who also spoke about it and thanked the Chief Minister for taking special interest in its completion.

UNI BAS ASM PY CS1715

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