Potholes and Progress? Unfinished Smart City Works Plague Srinagar Commuters

Potholes and Progress? Unfinished Smart City Works Plague Srinagar Commuters

As the smart city projects meant to give better infrastructure to Srinagar linger on, normal life in the city has been badly affected. Everyday issues such as traffic jams, accidents, and patients dying on roads have been making headlines.

The commuters in Srinagar said that traffic jams due to pothole-ridden roads and dug-up roads have been a major issue. They said that during peak hours, the issues get worse as office goers and students rush towards their respective destinations.

“I have been avoiding travelling in my four-wheeler and rely on two-wheeler due to the bad condition of roads and traffic jams. The roads are in shambles and the issue is not at one stretch which can be solved by diversions, the issue is there in the majority of the Srinagar roads which is making us helpless,” said Shabir Ahmad, a commuter.

The commuters in Nowpora, Khanyar, Nawab Bazar, Nowhatta, Safa Kadal, Kaksarai, Kara Nagar, Jehangir Chowk, and other areas said that multiple projects of roads, pathways, drainage, and other infrastructure are going on at a slow pace, taking a toll on them.

Locals in Khanyar and Nowpora said that the busy roads have been rendered crippled as the work is going on at a slow pace. “In addition to huge potholes, the roads in the area are dug up, but the work is going at a snail’s pace. We want SSCL authorities to ensure that contractors complete the project swiftly so that we don’t suffer. This area has become a major traffic bottleneck, and essential services, including ambulances, are stuck in traffic jams,” said Faheem Bhat, a local from downtown.

The commuters in Nawab Bazar, Karan Nagar, also said that the ongoing work on the roads and footpaths is not being executed swiftly, which is crippling traffic. “Only a few days back, a patient was readmitted because of the bad road near SMHS Hospital. Another one died on Thursday while being stuck in traffic jams in the Safa Kadal area. The issue is now becoming life-threatening, and as commuters, we want completion of work, not extension of deadlines,” said Fazil Ahmad, another commuter.

In addition to Smart City work, commuters in Dalgate said that the extended work on Dalgate bridge by the R&B Department has been going on for a long time. They said that the traffic coming from downtown or Dalgate has been crippled. Traffic officials have been saying that these issues have been affecting traffic flow and its management.

“Once these construction works, including in downtown and Dalgate, are complete, there will be a major change on the ground. Over these months, numerous projects have been going on in the context of road construction, footpaths, and bridges. The Dalgate bridge construction has also affected traffic flow, and we are hopeful that these projects will be completed soon and smooth traffic flow will be ensured,” said a Traffic Police official.

Divisional Commission, Kashmir, last month directed the officers of SSCL and R&B to ensure a motorable surface of all roads within five days to facilitate smooth traffic movement given Eid and other festivals. The commuters said that on the ground, there is no respite despite the passage of a month since the directions were passed. Chief Engineer SSCL, Qayoom Kirmani said that they would ensure the timely completion of projects so that people do not suffer.

“At many spots, we are ensuring that work goes on 24/7, and we are continuously monitoring the work to ensure that the least inconvenience is caused to locals and commuters. Due to weather, some road work was hindered in Srinagar, and the same will be done in time. We will ensure that roads are completed on a priority basis so that traffic issues can be addressed,” Kirmani said.

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