In absence of bridge, Pathankot-Sujanpur by-pass remains futile
With an aim to reduce traffic congestion in the town, a by-pass along Khaddi khad was proposed to divert the traffic coming from Madhopur, Shahpur Kandi and Dalhousie, but in the absence of a connecting bridge on a Ravi tributary the project remains hanging fire.
The town still bears heavy flow of traffic through Main Bazaar, which could otherwise have easily been diverted through the proposed by-pass had the project finished in time.
Traffic congestions on the link road from Shahpur Kandi to Pathankot, especially at Main Bazaar, causes inconvenience to people going towards Sujanpur, hence they want early completion of the project. On completion, the by-pass will cut travelling time to Sujanpur and lessen inconveniences caused by traffic snarls.
In 2001, then higher education minister Master Mohan Lal had unveiled the foundation stone of a proposed road connecting old Shahpur Road with Khadi khad road, however, with the change of regime in Punjab the project failed to take off.
In 2004, during the Congress regime, then local MLA Ashok Sharma tried to pick an end of the dropped thread, but as the road was being used by the nagar council to dump garbage, the project again failed to take off.
Once again in June 2011, local MLA Master Mohan Lal managed to convince chief minister Parkash Singh Badal and public works department (PWD) minister PS Dhindsa about the importance of the road. He again unveiled a foundation stone and the work on the project was started.
As the road was to be partly built by the contractor, who was supposed to build a bridge on the Ravi tributary, left the project midway, citing his inability to go ahead with the project on the rates fixed by the tender. As his demand to hike the quotation price was turned down by the PWD bridge and road (B&R) wing, he quit.
Meanwhile, one of the pillars of the proposed bridge got tilted by the water current, adding to the department's trouble.
Sanjay Kumar, a Manwal resident, who passes through Main Bazaar on way to office, said had the by-pass road been operation, his time and petrol both would have been saved daily.
However, Sunil Gulati, who goes to Sujanpur daily, claimed that the by-pass was the shortest route to Sujanpur, but in the absence of the bridge, it was useless. The government must fast-track the bridge construction, as it would ease traffic congestion in main bazaars, particularly at Shahpur Chowk, he added.
Vinay Kumar, a trader at Shahpur Chowk, said daily people stuck up for hours in traffic jams created by vehicles coming from Shahpur Kandi and Dalhousie. The by-pass would have helped ease the traffic, he added.
"We have got primary approval to complete the bridge, but the final approval by executive members is awaited. Once received, the project will kick off," Manmohan, PWD executive engineer (B&R), told Hindustan Times.
When asked how much time it would take, he said at least one year. "In monsoon season the water current is high, which is not good to start construction works," he added.
Pathankot deputy commissioner (DC) Sukhvinder Singh said he had directed PWD officials to speed up the construction work after the monsoon. On completion, the project would definitely ease commuters' trouble, he added.