Decades old Zero Bridge lays dismantled in Kashmir
History flowed down the Jhelum River in the summer capital Srinagar as the authorities paid no heed to the six-decade-old Zero Bridge that lays dismantled causing disappointment among residents while daily commuters face troubles.
Zero Bridge was constructed in the 1950s when late Bakshi Ghulam Muhammad was the Prime Minister of Jammu and Kashmir.
There is a mundane official version of why the bridge was so named. Some say it was named so because it was constructed by a contractor who was deaf. 'Zorr' means deaf in Kashmiri and the bridge was initially known as the 'Zorr Bridge' which later changed to Zero Bridge.
While some say the original name suggested for the bridge had been Habba Khatoun Bridge, after the 17th century local queen-poetess.
The 'Zero Bridge' was a wooden bridge, which the government had undertaken to restore. But the restoration work is going on at a slow pace, which is becoming a nuisance for the residents.
The new bridge being the only passage from over the Jhelum River causes traffic jams. It also creates problems for the local market and business as there are various hotels and restaurants built around the area.
"People are very troubled. There is a lot of traffic jam on the new bridge. If the old bridge was in the right condition, it would help in regulating traffic. It was a traditional old bridge. It would also help the markets. I don't understand why work is slow here. A 1-year-long project takes five years for completion," said Nisar Ahmad, a resident.
Owing to its historical presence, Zero Bridge was also a tourist attraction.
But, authorities said that there are no restoration projects for the bridge as of now.
"No the work hasn't been sanctioned yet to rehabilitate zero bridge," said Shalinder Kumar, Divisional Commissioner of the state.
The restoration of the bridge started a few years ago, which was appreciated by the residents of the area. But it has now suddenly come to a standstill.
(Posted on 30-03-2014)