Kashmir leaders slam delay in construction of bridge after boat capsizes in Gandbal - Hindustan Times

Kashmir leaders slam delay in construction of bridge after boat capsizes in Gandbal

ByMir Ehsan, Srinagar
Apr 17, 2024 06:46 AM IST

Leaders question government for delay in completing Jhelum bridge after boat tragedy in Srinagar. Former CMs demand inquiry, blame administration for lapses.

Leaders from political parties questioned the government for not completing the bridge over Jhelum in view of the deaths of six persons, including three students, after a boat capsized in the river at Gandbal Batwara on Tuesday morning.

Former Jammu and Kashmir National Conference president Farooq Abdullah. (PTI)
Former Jammu and Kashmir National Conference president Farooq Abdullah. (PTI)

Three persons including two students are still missing and a search operation is underway.

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Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister (CM) and member of Parliament from Srinagar, Farooq Abdullah, demanded an inquiry into why the bridge was not completed on time.

“The tragedy could have been averted if the bridge had been completed on time. Why was it not completed? An inquiry must be initiated,” Farooq Abdullah said while blaming the administration for lapses.

He added that the bridge construction work began when Omar Abdullah was the CM, adding, “The absence of this bridge has been the reason for loss of lives in the river Jehlum. This administration should wake up as many people including students have lost their lives in this tragedy.”

The former CM said the administration will only wake up from slumber after this incident. “What’s sad now is that all officials will rush to hurry the work when precious lives have been already lost,” he said. Abdullah said that prompt investigation should be ordered: “There should be a truthful investigation.”

People Democratic Party (PDP) youth secretary Zuhaib Mir said he had been requesting the officials to complete the bridge for the last two years. “I have written several communications to the lieutenant governor’s office but nothing happened. This shows the present administration doesn’t care about us.”

Iltija Mufti, advisor to another former CM Mehbooba Mufti, also from PDP, also demanded an inquiry into this incident. “From past many years this bridge hasn’t been completed. My question to administration is that who is responsible for this incident. Jammu and Kashmir is under central rule from past five years who is responsible for this incident,”

Former city mayor and senior Apni Party leader Junaid Azim Mattu said the inquiry by a retired high court judge should be initiated into the delay in completion of the bridge.

“An inquiry… should be constituted to submit a time-bound report about why the Gandbal-Batwara Bridge couldn’t be constructed by R&B since 15 years! Those responsible should be booked for gross negligence and involuntary manslaughter,” Mattu wrote on X.

Party president also demanded a time-bound inquiry into the incident.

Roads and buildings secretary Bupinder Kumar and Srinagar deputy commissioner (DC) Bupinder Kumar did not respond to messages about the delay in bridge’s completion.

Meanwhile, L-G Manoj Sinha has expressed condolences, saying. “I am deeply grieved by the loss of lives due to a boat accident in Srinagar. My thoughts are with the bereaved families and I pray to the Almighty to give them strength to withstand this immense loss. Team of SDRF, army and other agencies are carrying out relief and rescue work.”

“The administration is providing all possible help to the bereaved families who have lost their near and dear ones and medical facilities to those who have been injured. Marcos teams have also been alerted. I am constantly monitoring the situation and guiding the team on the ground,” he added.

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