Locals pin hope on new R&B Min Naeem Akhtar
Bandipora, February 21: With every passing day, the residents of Bandipora are losing patience and anger against the government is brewing up for failing to repair Srinagar-Bandipora road.
The youth have resorted to online protest and have started a campaign under hashtag #BetterRoadsForBandipora.
The campaign has been picked up and people are sharing their torrid experiences on Facebook they had while commuting on the road.
The pathetic condition of road could not even stop Syed Naseem who is son of Hurriyat (G) Chairman Syed Ali Geelani to share bad experience about travel on this road, who went ahead to advise people for not to travel on the road.
“Some piece of advice:Don’t ever try to go via Safapora, Sumbal to Bandipora. The condition of the road is pathetic, and no one is ready to look into the problems of common people. I tried to come back via saderkoot to Srinagar but it was a terrible experience and the landslides created further chaos, ” reads a post on his Facebook timeline adding,”The authorities at the helm of affairs are in deep slumber. The people who claim to provide sadak, Bijili and pani are warming in their cozy offices,”
The 59-kilometre Srinagar-Sumbal-Bandipora road connects Bandipora and over 120 villages with summer capital of the state. However, the continuous government neglect has turned the condition of the road from bad to worst during last few decades.
The road is dotted with countless potholes and craters causing public inconvenience. “Despite passing of over four decades, successive regimes have failed to undertake the repair of this vital road,” locals complained.
The campaign has also been triggered after the change of portfolios with Mr Naeem Akhtar given the R&B Department. The Minister being the resident of Bandipora, the locals are hoping that the road may finally be repaired permanently under his ministry.
Locals said the road needs permanent solution and not the cosmetic measures. They said the road needs proper drainage on both sides to avoid water logging, besides construction of few culverts along Saderkoot – Sumbal stretch and removal of encroachments at few places.
Pinning hope on Naeem Akhtar, locals said it needs political will to repair road as some encroachments need to be removed and only Naeem Akhtar can get it removed as he won’t lose any political constituency unlike other ministers.
Sheikh Towheed, a social activist who started the online campaign said they started the campaign under hashtag #BetterRoadsForBandipora to compel the Government to provide them better road connectivity.
“Who is responsible for the embezzlement of taxes that we pay for the maintenance of roads?? Who will own the responsibility of the life and sufferings of the patients referred for better treatment to Srinagar?, ” he posed the questions in the campaign.
Senior Journalist and Editor-in-chief Rising Kashmir Dr Shujaat Bukhari also registered his protest against the condition of road recently. He said the Bandipora district is represented by a cabinet Minister (Naeem Akhtar), Deputy Speaker (Nazir Gurezi) and a Vice-Chairman equivalent to Mos post(Nizam-ud-din Bhat) and despite such a good representation of the district the road is very dangerous to travel.
Taking cue from the online camping, BIG FM Radio’s popular RJ Nasir is all set to go on air for two hours with a campaign about the road.
During the two hour show, RJ Nasir will talk to people and the officers regarding the road.
“The road condition was bad earlier even contractors and engineer embezzled the funds meant for repair but it turned worst after 2011 when BRO started looking after the road maintenance,” Showkat Ahmed a civil society member told Kashmir Convener.
Chief Engineer BRO Brigadier Sharma assured that road will use all resources to repair the road by the year end