Shopian, Jul 12: Hundreds of cab drivers on Monday observed a strike and staged protest against the government for failing to complete the vital Bijbehara-Shopian road.
The drivers staged a protest at the main market Imamsahib and demanded the completion of the road at the earliest which is incomplete from the last six years.
Protesters said that due to the bumpy and dilapidated condition of the road, they are facing financial losses as they have to spend maximum money from their earnings on their vehicles for repair work.
Due to the strike of the drivers, passengers were left stranded for hours which created a mess on the vital road which connects hundreds of villages to district headquarter Shopian and other towns.
In February 2016, the Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways sanctioned an amount of Rs 48.93 crore for the upgradation and widening of the road, which connects Shopian with Bijbehara.
Notably, connecting the historical Mughal road with Srinagar-Jammu highway at Bijbehara town, the road is also vital to hundreds of villages that connect them to different parts of South Kashmir.
Locals from different parts of the Shopian said that the dilapidated condition of the road from Chitragam to Shopian is giving tough time to the commuters.
They said that it takes them hours from Shopian to reach Imamsahib, Nagbal or Chitragam or vice-versa due to the dilapidated condition of the road.
Locals said part of the road was dug by bulldozers to shift water pipelines and electric poles, however, the road was never repaired.
“We were promised a two lane road but there isn’t even one lane anywhere and travelling on this road is not less than a nightmare for both drivers as well as passengers, ” said Junaid Ahmad a resident of Imamsahib Shopian.
He said that there was tussle with PHE and PDD but it was later settled, however, due to shortage of funds now work has been put on halt.
Locals requested chief engineer R&B and DDC Shopian to personally look into the matter and complete the road at the earliest so that locals can heave a sigh of relief.
Executive Engineer R&B division Shopian Er Farooq Ahmad said that there is liability of over Rs 10 crore which the department owes to contractors for which work has been already done.
He said that the department hasn’t received a single penny for the last year and despite that one contractor agreed to macadamise the part of the road on which the work is going on.
“We are in deliberation with other two contractors and higher ups of the government to macadamise the remaining 18 to 20 KMs of the road,” he said.