8 yrs on,highway reels under darkness

Lighting nowhere, risk everywhere; Restoration will start soon: PDD

The government concern towards safety of public life and property in Srinagar could be gauged from the fact that for the past around eight years, the busy Srinagar-Baramulla highway snaking through the south City is without lighting.
As if the deadly darkness was not enough, some highway stretches are void of any “road guards” and caution signs, while electric poles at places stand tall on the middle of the highway.

Come sunset and highway starts haunting the commuters and others as the darkness looms large over the 17-kilometer stretch between Athwajan and Parim Pora.  While accidents are almost a routine and around a dozen people have died, drivers often put blame on poor visibility.
As a part of the highway widening from two to four lanes started in 2006, new lights were to be installed. But following a deadlock between the firm given the lighting contract and the Power Development Department(PDD), the work was abandoned midway never to be resumed. Though the contract was believed to have had option for arbitration in such cases, the clause was never exercised.

The negligence towards deadly darkness remained so visible that four bridges and the Hyder Pora flyover, constructed as part of the highway widening, were inaugurated by the government top brass every time without lighting in place.
And those who did the honors included Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah and Roads and Building(R&B) Minister Abdul Majeed Wani while concerned officials were part of the inauguration ceremonies.
The bridges and the flyover are yet to get any lampposts.

Presence of electric poles on the middle of road could be a driving hazard for sure. But on the south City highway officials have expressed satisfaction over their presence.
In 2012,  Chief Minister Omar Abdullah inaugurated dewatering station near Teng Pora just next to the site where electric poles have been pinned on the middle of the road.
At the pump station inauguration the speakers said “government is providing best of the facilities to the

But lights are not the only issue. The highway widening, scheduled to be 18-months project is incomplete even after eight long years. While lights are yet to be installed, some portions of the highway are not compatible with the widened road. Official sources admitted that work on “RCC retaining wall near Chana Pora bridge and elsewhere is still going on.”

PDD Chief Engineer Bashir Ahmed Khan said the lighting would soon in place on the highway. “The issue had been pending with the project executing firm. But the matter has been resolved through arbitration at a meeting which was also attended by DDC(Farooq Ahmed Shah),” the Chief Engineer said adding the work would resume within a week.

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