Deadly Boat Capsize In Srinagar: Incomplete Bridge Raises Questions

(MENAFN- Kashmir Observer) Srinagar- A pall of gloom descended on Gundbal Srinagar after a boat carrying mostly school children capsized in the River Jhelum on Tuesday, leaving six people dead and many others missing.

The residents of Gundbal slammed the authorities for their inability to finish constructing a footbridge that would connect the area with the rest of Srinagar city.


Locals told Kashmir Observer that the construction of the bridge was started in 2016 by the R&B department, however till date the work hasn't been completed.

“The bridge construction has dragged on for years,” said Shabir Ahmed, a resident of Gundbal.“Locals are forced to use boats to cross the river. If the bridge had been completed, this tragedy could have been avoided.”

Abdul Rashid, another local, said that the work was going at snail's pace for the last seven years and the residents had taken-up this issue with the authorities a couple of times.

Read Also Srinagar Boat Capsize: Police Recover 4 School Bags From River Jhelum At Chattabal Vier 6 Dead As Boat Ferrying Schoolchildren Capsizes In Jhelum In Srinagar

“However, despite repeated pleas
there was no positive response,” Rashid said, adding,“Now, after the loss of precious lives, maybe they'll finally complete the bridge.”

“Who stole their tomorrows? Who is accountable for these young lives lost in a river, when a bridge could have saved them?” a young boy lamented.

He stressed that this tragedy struck just 3 kilometres from the smart city hub of Lal Chowk.“The unfinished bridge stands as a stark reminder of the gaps between development promises and the realities faced by residents.”

Notably, the valley is witnessing heavy rainfall from the last four days, due to which the water level in River Jhelum has swollen.

Sajad Ahmad Naqeeb, Chief Engineer R&B Central Kashmir, told Kashmir Observer that the work on the footbridge began in 2018 at the cost of Rs 4.76 Crore, however, he added that there was a lack
of“dedicated funding” .

“The width of the bridge was 1.8 meters but when the department started work on the bridge, the locals requested to make the bridge motorable,” he said, adding,“the basic parameters of the bridge got changed.”

He further said after 2019, the whole new process was initiated and the work is going on
rigorously. He mentioned the width of the bridge is now 4.1 meters and it can be converted into a motorable one, once the land is acquired from both sides of the bridge.

“The bridge has three spans and out of which two have been completed already,” he said.

The construction of the third span, he said, will be completed in the month of June 2024.

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