The Jammu and Kashmir Government sounds very optimistic about tackling the traffic problems being faced in the major cities by next year if the pace of major road projects being executed are any indicators. According to the new Minister for Public Works Naeem Akhtar, major initiatives are afoot to provide better road connectivity and ensure effective traffic management in Kashmir Valley by completion of major road and infrastructure projects. He said that the government is committed to building an infrastructure that will be able to provide the best services to the people. On the other hand when it comes to the winter capital of the State Jammu, the story is of neglect and apathy. Some of the projects have been moving at snail’s pace like the repair of the fourth bridge on Tawi. From the first year of its operation the bridge has been a victim of official apathy and the widespread corruption. Every year during rainy season its one portion gets washed away making it use less for the rest of the year. Today also its almost a year the damaged portion remains uncovered with both sides filled with mud dumped to raise the surrounding surface. Only the road users know the pain they have to under go while passing a small stretch on the damaged side. Other eye sore is the extension of the flyover to Satwari which has been going at a pace that one fails to understand when these projects will reach completion stage. As far as the tourism promotion projects are concerned their status is as good as uncertain. The ground reality is gloomy and the encouraging and optimistic assurance of the minister is a welcome sign. The massive programme to build new roads, bridges and flyovers in Srinagar are on Jehangir Chowk-Rambagh Flyover, Mehjoor Nagar Bridge and TRC grade separator. All would be completed by this year and construction of Bund road from Rambagh to Gangbug would be undertaken soon. Unfortunately the growing population of vehicles has outpaced the development of roads and other infrastructure in Jammu city resulting into chaos on roads. A congestion-less drive in Jammu is a luxury which only the VIPs and the powerful enjoy under the police patronage.
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