KASHMIR NEWS TRUST #KNT
Despite being directed to stop the work on the ‘non-motorable walkway around Wullar Lake’, in North Kashmir’s Badnipora district, the concerned construction agency has not only started the work but also used the non-approved soil, which as per the locals is a cause of concern.
Locals alleged that during the construction of the highly publicized non-motorable walkway encircling Wullar Lake, extending from Naz Nallah to Banyari Bridge, as well as the access road leading to the delta park, the construction agency is using non-approved soil. Even an application filed by an RTI activist Pervaiz Ahmad, reveals a significant discrepancy in the approved soil source for this project. While concrete soil is the designated material, the contractor in violation is using dredged silt from Wullar Lake at a zero-distance point.
Locals informed the news agency Kashmir News Trust that many truckloads of dredged silt are being extracted from Wullar Lake without any authorization from the competent authority. This material is then being incorporated into the walkway, a move that locals believe may pose future safety risks.
Assistant Executive Engineer R&B Sub Division Hajin in a communique to the Executive Engineer R&B Division Sumbal had stated that any work on the walkway won’t be entertained and this needs to stop immediately. The irony is that even after this letter, the work was not stopped.
The letter of Assistant Executive Engineer R&B Sub Division Hajin reads: “as per the reports submitted by the field staff and other reliable sources the agency ‘JK Constructions’ has started the work on the Motorable walkway around Wullar Lake’ scheme without any intimation to his office or without any direction from the him. Moreover my office has not received a complete record of the said project from Bandipora Division till date and work cannot be taken up as such.
“It is important to mention here that there is a case spending with ACB (Anti-Corruption Bureau) Kashmir regarding the said project.”
The letter further reads that: “As such it is requested to direct concerned agency to stop the work till the case is settled from ACB Kashmir or until there are some clear directions from ACB for the continuation of execution of work on the said project. Any work executed till that time will be the sole responsibility of the contractor and will not be entertained.”
Meanwhile, social activist and RTI activist Parvez Ahmed said that it would be a disaster if non-approved soil was used in the project. Stakeholders are shocked that work was not stopped in time and the contractor continued to use non-reliable dredged-out silt.
“By virtue of an RTI, we came to know that non-approved soil is used for embankments. We are concerned with quality but the fact is that the construction agency is not using good earth. It’s a Rs 19 Crore project and the agency is trying to save money not believing in quality material. We are sure that it will submerge in the near future if quality material is not used,” he said.
The said project was supposed to be completed in 19 months but 16 months have already lapsed. “It is a lingering project, a stain in the name of beautification,” Parvez Ahmed said adding that contrary to the wishes and aspirations of the locals this project again didn’t generate any employment for them.
When contacted, Executive Engineer R&B Sumbal said that he is on leave and would look into the matter after attending the office.
Irfan Rasool, Coordinator Wullar Conservation and Management Authority told KNT that work has been stopped and they have taken action shortly after receiving the complaint. [KNT]