Residents struggle as Jhelum Bridge project halts

GUJAR KHAN  -  The future of the unfinished bridge over the Jhelum River re­mains uncertain as funding was halted following the conclusion of the PTI government in Pun­jab. Despite significant progress made in the project during the PTI regime, construction came to a halt under the subsequent administrations, leaving sev­eral spans unfinished and only reaching the midpoint. 

This has left over five hamlets in the Vichla Baila area com­pletely disconnected from a land route by the river Jhelum, posing significant challenges to resi­dents in their daily commute to and from the city of Jhelum.

Local sources report the pres­ence of approximately six villag­es, surrounded by the bifurcated river Jhelum, where residents are forced to brave the river dai­ly for their commute. Currently, a cable car operated by a private party serves as their sole means of crossing the river, albeit lack­ing proper equipment. Pedestri­ans and bike riders are charged for this convenience, while those attempting to cross by vehicle face treacherous conditions.

Muhammad Aftab, a resident of Meraj Pur village, expressed disappointment over the sudden closure of the bridge project and emphasized the urgent need for its completion. Similarly, other residents, like Qamar Zaman and Maryam Saeed, highlighted the daily struggles they face due to the lack of convenient access to schools and healthcare facilities.

Parveen Akhter, an elderly woman from Merajpur, echoed the sentiments of many resi­dents, expressing confusion over the stoppage of work on the bridge and emphasizing the challenges faced in transporting patients, especially during night­time hours.

Residents are calling on the chief minister of Punjab to re­sume construction of the bridge, citing its importance for public welfare. Mr. Adeel, the executive engineer of the Punjab High­ways and Communications Jhe­lum district, confirmed that the scheme was in progress within the department, pending the release of necessary funds from the government to resume work.

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