The bellowing river Kahmil, a tributary to river Jehlum, divides the constituencies of Kupwara and Handwara. The river has several bridges over it at many places from Chowkibal to Kupwara town.
However, at Poshpora there is a bridge under construction for past 11 years. The villagers of Poshpora had been demanding its construction for the past several decades.
“When Sheikh Abdullah was in power, we were demanding a bridge here on the river Kahmil,” says Abdul Ahad Bhat, an elderly villager.
However, the construction of bridge on the river at Poshpora became a source of conflict between the twin villages of Poshpora and Kunan for several years which delayed the construction.
The conflict was resolved after negotiations and Kunan got its separate bridge which too is incomplete.
Jammu and Kashmir Project construction Corporation, JKPCC, a government undertaking construction agency, was allotted the project to construct the bridge over the river at Poshpora.
In 2005, the foundation stone was laid for construction of the bridge and work on the construction of bridge went on for a year.
Villagers were hopeful that within two years Poshpora will be connected to several other villages which include Dedikote and Pazipora. “However, after one year, the construction process saw a halt,” recalls Abdul Ahad standing on the bank of the river. “After a wait of several years, we asked the government to complete the work,” says another local, Ghulam Mohammad Bhat.
In 2012- 2013 two more columns (Pillars of the bridge) were constructed and work again came to a halt. “The construction material like iron roads and other stuff got rusted and became debris. A lot of material got washed away with floods, “says Javed Bhat who grew seeing the laying of foundation stone up to now.
When contacted, JKPCC’s Kupwara DGM, Gh Mohammad Bhat, rues lack of required funds to complete the construction of bridge. “The bridge with estimated cost of approximately Rs five crore thirty lakh for construction has received only around Rs 2.5 crore so far,” informs Bhat.
(Zafar Aafaq is an Intern with Kashmir Life.)