Udhampur (Jammu and Kashmir) [India], June 13 (ANI): The construction of a new 58 metre long bridge over the Tawi river in Chenani block of Jammu and Kashmir's Udhampur district has brought hope of development and ease of doing business to the villagers.
The bridge is being built to replace a 62-year-old wooden bridge, which could not support heavy vehicles and hindered development projects and businesses alike in villages established across the bridges over the years.
The estimated cost of the construction is Rs 332 lakh and a population of over 50,000 will benefit, which lives across the bridge.
The construction which began earlier this month was a long pending demand of several locals.
A resident of Nagolta village and a driver by profession told ANI that he could not take his vehicle across the bridge to his village and used to park it right besides the bridge.
"This bridge is very old. I am a driver and I could not take my vehicle over this bridge to my village because I feared it might not be that strong to hold the weight. This bridge joins around 75 villages," he said.
The older wooden bridge was in a non-motorable state. Only light motor vehicles could cross the bridge. Constructed by PWD in 1959, the wooden bridge served as a major link to Pattangarh, Dhanas, Gharian, Nagulta, Tandhar, Satyalta, and other big panchayats across the bridge.
Sunil, another local from Nagolta village said, "This bridge connects a lot of villages. When vehicles used to cross from this bridge, people used to be afraid of their lives. It will be beneficial for many. By constructing a cemented bridge, the far off villages will also develop as the roads there are not very good because required material could not be taken via this bridge."
Several locals have lauded the administration for the initiative of the administration and concerned authorities.
Hem Raj from Dhandal village said, "It is a very big step and will prove to be beneficial for many villages. I extend my gratitude to the authorities for paying heed to the demands to the people and taking this up."
President of the Municipal Committee of Chenani Manik Gupta informed that hand pumps could not be installed due in villages across the bridge as authorities were unable to transport the required material.
"People had demanded the bridge's development for years. Over 31,000 people lives across the bridge. There was a scheme from the government that hand pumps need to be installed in villages. However, due to bad connectivity and the poor state of the bridge, hand pumps could be installed in the villages across the bridge. Now the bridge will foster significant developments in those villages. Earlier, people who wanted to build cemented houses, could not. It serves a major project," Gupta said.
Amit Abrol, Vice President of Municipal Committee, Chenani said, "Heavy vehicles could not cross. People have demanded its development for several years. In a single year, it had to be repaired 2-3 times. There is a lot of scope for vegetable growers on the other side, but heavy vehicles could not cross over the wooden bridge."
According to the Executive Engineer in PWD (Roads & Buildings), Udhampur division, Mohammad Zabir, there are as many as nine panchayats with a population of over 50,000 people living on the other side of the bridge. "It will directly benefit the agricultural sector as the villagers will now be able to sell their produce here," he said.
Zabir also assured that the work will be complete very soon. (ANI)