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Dropped by World Bank over conflict, Lasjan-Pulwama road remains battered

As per the official documents of the World Bank, the project, estimated to be at around two-crores, stands 'cancelled.'
12:00 AM May 17, 2024 IST | HASEEB IBN HAMEED
dropped by world bank over conflict  lasjan pulwama road remains battered
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Srinagar, May 16: For Asif Ali bhat, a tipper driver, driving  a loaded truck through the Lasjan-Pulwama road is not only a tough task but an irritating one too. If not for his livelihood, Asif says he wouldn’t even think of traveling along the road.

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The vital Lasjan-Pulwama road which sees the movement of over 100-tippers, dumpers per day is usually in a dilapidated condition and is now in a more battered state for over a year, locals and drivers said.

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After the 2014 floods, the upgradation of the important roadway was included by the World Bank in its Jhelum and Tawi Flood Recovery Projects (JTFRP) fund programme, but those at the helms of affairs including contractors pitted oneself against each other over the tender, resulting in World Bank dropping the project, said a senior official from the Roads and Buildings department on the condition of anonymity.

“It would have been among the best roads of Kashmir if not for the envy and baseless competition between our own people,” he said. The World Bank doesn’t go on with the litigation, conflict -ridden projects, he said.

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As per the official documents of the World Bank, the project, estimated to be at around two-crores, stands "cancelled."

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It was then revamped by the then government without taking the load it would have to bear on a daily basis into consideration, the official said.

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Asserting its importance, an engineer from the R&B department said that the load factor of the road should have been taken care of when building it. However, he said, “that's the past, let's focus on future solutions.”

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The road sees movement of around 100 dumpers carrying different construction materials every day.

The onus lies on many dumper owners as well, who overload their trucks without covering it properly, said Asif Ali.

Locals say, the crusher owners in the area spray water all over the road every morning, weakening the surface where macadamised and creating dirt where dilapidated.

The important road has been in a battered condition for over two years now, taking a heavy toll on over 200 families living in the area.

Residents say their relatives and friends “are discouraged to visit" them "solely by the condition of the road.”

Vexed to his nerves in July last year, Sajid Ahmad, a local, reported the inconveniences caused by the broken-down road to the Lieutenant Governor’s office who then directed the concerned authorities including Roads and Buildings department to address the issue.

Then, in its reply in July last year, the R&B said that the work to “frame the DPR is in process and that it will be submitted soon.”

The DPR as per the R&B is now complete and “would hopefully be approved in current plan in this month.”

Asked why it took them 9-months to prepare the DPR, the R&B Chief Engineer, Sajad Naqeeb said that these programmes are approved during the months of April and May only, “so we had to wait till this year.”

He said they are hoping to get the approval and an adequate fund from the government to improve the road’s condition.

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