The City of Chaos

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Defunct drainage system, dust, water and the unending traffic jams is what the life goes on with in summer capital Srinagar. The city has literally plunged into the chaos and confusion. The undergoing construction of vital developmental projects is at snail’s pace. And the government stands the mute spectator. In fact the crucial Jahangir Chowk-Rambagh flyover which has missed half a dozen deadlines so far has not only disturbed the whole city, it has also led to immense chaos and confusion among the city dwellers. Similarly, another grade separator (TRC flyover) which was supposed to be completed by the end of 2016 is still at its initial stage of execution.

Former Chief Minister late Mufti Mohammad Syed laid the foundation stone of the Grade Separator near TRC junction in 2015. The work on it is being executed by the J&K Economic Reconstruction Agency (ERA). The then CEO of ERA, Vinod Sharma had briefed the Chief Minister, that the project will be completed by December 2016.  

 Then comes the Youth services and sports department which blocked the crucial drain at the junction during the construction of football stadium.  

“We are facing problems in movement on roads here as the construction has narrowed the roads. During the rains water gets stagnated. The drainage system here is totally blocked and the water has no way to go,” said Ghulam Rasool Bhat, an Auto Driver at TRC.

 A tea seller at the same spot, Mohammad Lateif is another mute spectator of public inconvenience. He sees no hope, if ever the public sufferings may get addressed given to the callous attitude of government.

“I have been working here since last 3 years; the construction of the flyover is not speeding up day by day. We have many issues here. Here used to be a drainage system to discharge the waters from roads but that was blocked by the sports department after some construction took place,” he rues.

“Now the water logging, dust and mud is the common feature of this spot and we live in that as we know nobody is ready to address this grave issue and speed up the construction work,” he adds. Tanveer Ahmad another shopkeeper said, “We are facing lots of problems here. Water gets accumulated in front of our shops making our movement difficult. If the Government had completed the construction of Rambagh flyover, here would be no such huge rush of traffic.”

He pleads that work on the flyover must be speeded up.

The work on JCRB (Jahangir Chowk Rambagh), two and half kilometre long flyover started in 2013 and was expected to be completed in three years. The construction was halted due to 2014 floods and 2016 uprising, missing its initial deadlines. This mega infrastructural project has cast its shadow on many sections of the society especially shopkeepers.  

A local shopkeeper Gowher Ahmed of Solina expressed his deep concern over its incompletion for a long time, “We have many issue here. The dust present here around the construction site makes hard to work,” he said. I have taken antibiotics for about three months because of the chest infection caused by dust.

The rubble of construction made the whole drainage system defunct due to which the rain water seeps into our residential and commercial areas.”

Apart from the inconvenience and health problems, the local shopkeepers and business class also suffer huge losses.

“Due to ongoing construction at this point and blockade of road, the business activities have abruptly scaled down incurring huge economic loses to us. This is not a developmental boom, it is a bane,” the business fraternity of Solina said.

Interestingly, the work is not speeding up despite the assurances from government that city will be made free of traffic jams by 2018.

The assurances were given by the former Roads and Building Minister during the review meeting in presence of all the administrative heads last year.

   

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