Underlining the importance of bridges in the communication network particularly in a state like Jammu and Kashmir, presenting geographical diversity and difficult terrains, chief minister Omar Abdullah on Sunday said during the last over four-and-a-half years his government has focused on upgrade and construction of road communication with special attention on building important bridges to open up cut-off areas and interlink various districts in the state.
The chief minister was addressing a function after inaugurating Rs 3.1 crore pre-stressed girder bridge at Wahibugh, Pulwama, on Romshi Nallah.
Omar said another bridge ahead of Wahibugh at Aglar is expected to be completed next year. He said by the inauguration of Wahibugh bridge, Pulwama district has been connected with Budgam district. This, he added, would generate wide-ranging economic activities for the people and give fillip to the development process in the two districts.
The Wahibugh bridge will provide all-weather connectivity for all types of traffic. The bridge will improve the economic standard of the population residing in Ashmeader, Chevakhurd, Chevakalan, Wahibugh, Kaima, Abadgouson villages in Pulwama district and Kampora Sarai, Nowpora and Hayatpora in Budgam. The bridge also provides an alternate link to the famous shrine of Sheikh Noor-ud-Din Noorani, Charar-i-Sharief as also to Pakherpora.
Expressing dismay over the delay caused in the completion of Wahibugh bridge since its foundation laid by him in 2002, the chief minister said had the requisite funds provided for the construction of bridges by the earlier government, it would have been completed long back. He said as soon as his government took over; necessary funds were earmarked for the bridge for its economic importance and vast benefits.
He congratulated people for completing and commissioning of the bridge and said their economic condition would get considerable fillip by this bridge.
Referring to the construction of Pulwama Circular Road, Omar said much politics has been done over this road and those who talked too much about it did not arrange any funds for this road. He said his government has earmarked Rs 5 crore for the construction of Pulwama Circular Road and the district development commissioner has been directed to move ahead on the process of land acquisition and development of the road. He said as soon as the earmarked funds are spent, more funds will be made available for the project.
The chief minister said the Pulwama fruit mandi developed during Farooq Abdullah's tenure as chief minister did not receive much attention for its expansion and growth. He said he has asked the horticulture minister to visit Pulwama and discuss the expansion and growth of the fruit mandi with fruit growers, traders and government officials so that a comprehensive project is launched for modernising the facilities in the mandi and moving ahead on its expansion programme.
Minister for social welfare Sakina Itoo was accompanying the chief minister. Later, the chief minister visited the Pahalgam hydel project and inspected its various units. He received a brief on the newly-approved 1.5MW 3rd unit of the project. The new unit has been allotted for construction in March 2012 at a cost of Rs 5.31 crore.
The main civil works of the project have already been completed under stage-I. With the addition of 3rd unit the annual energy generation of the Pahalgam hydroelectric project will increase from present 14.92 MUs to 19.53 MUs. The tariff of plant with be revised to capacity of 4.5 MW will come down to Rs 4.5 per unit from the current tariff of Rs 5.20 per unit.
Omar said self-reliance in power generation is essentially important for the state to carry forward all-round development and provide strong edifice to the state's resources and economy.