"Precious lives could have been saved had govt built footbridge on time", says Gandbal residents

Srinagar, Apr 16 (KNS): Residents of Gandbal Batwara of Srinagar district on Tuesday expressed strong resentment over inordinate delay in the construction of footbridge over river Jhelum in the area, saying "Had it been constructed on time many precious lives could have been saved".

The residents who were mourning the death of six persons who lost their lives after the boat they were boarded in capsized in river Jhelum on Tuesday morning appealed authorities to take effective measures for averting further incidents in future. The tragedy left several households devastated as several school going children died in the mishap while few are still missing.

The Police, Army, NDRF and SDRF teams have been pressed into service for rescue operation in the area, however the missing persons are yet untraceable, leaving their families in deep shock.

"We are completely numb. The river Jhelum snatched our whole wealth today. We have been left with nothing. We have lost our beloved ones. We carried their coffins on shoulders and buried them helplessly," a family member who lost his son in the tragedy spoke to Kashmir News Service.

Every eye in the vicinity turns moist while observing the pain of those who lost their children in the mishap. People of the area were aggrieved over pathetic outlook of authorities who allegedly failed to construct footbridge over Jhelum in the area.Click Here To Follow Our WhatsApp Channel

"It has been over seven years since we are waiting for the bridge. Though the work was taken up in 2016, but it was stopped time and again in a gradual time. In 2019 the work was again started but stopped after few weeks without any concrete reason. We believe our area is the worst hit by administrative exploitation. We approached every office for addressing this grave issue, but of no avail. No one in the area was aware this bad day will come in our life," a local said.

"Besides locals, many political and social activists flagged up this issue in past, but their pleas too failed to hit the deaf ears of the administration," he said.

"We lost our kids today due to official apathy. Who will return our beloved sons back to us? Had we rose our kids for this fateful day? Let the administration to kill all of us today as what for we live in this world now," a wailing woman said, and added, "Had authorities constructed this footbridge on time many precious lives could have been saved today".

The incident triggered massive anger in public and political circles of Jammu and Kashmir, who urged authorities to accelerate the pace of work and prioritize its construction for safety and well-being of locals in the area. (KNS)

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