Baramulla, Dec 27: Decades after its construction, the Cement Bridge in Baramulla, once a picturesque spot for residents to enjoy the evening breeze and scenic views, has now devolved into a chaotic parking lot.
The unique structure, which connects old town Baramulla with the civil line area and serves as a crucial route for vehicles heading to Kupwara district, is now congested with vehicles parked haphazardly on both sides, causing significant obstruction.
Local residents expressed dismay at the transformation of the iconic bridge, highlighting its historical importance and the role it plays in connecting different parts of the town. The administration’s silence on the misuse of the bridge for parking has left many surprised, with even the payment area obstructed by parked vehicles, creating difficulties for pedestrians.
Farooq Ahmad, a resident, laments, “The bridge is now completely being used for parking. The authorities need to clear it from the mess.”
Abdul Gaffer, another resident, recalled the earlier days when residents would gather on the bridge, laying out mattresses and enjoying the town’s look until midnight. However, he noted that the current state of the bridge reflects administrative apathy.
In 2020, the bridge faced traffic restrictions for five months during the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite this, the issue of unauthorised parking persisted. Locals argue that the lack of designated parking spaces in the town forces residents, especially those from adjacent villages, to park their vehicles wherever space is available.
The Baramulla district administration claims that it has identified several potential parking locations, but the finalisation of a suitable site is still pending. This delay exacerbates the challenges faced by the town residents, highlighting the pressing need for a well-planned parking solution.
The locals urged the authorities to address the issue promptly, ensuring the restoration of the bridge’s intended purpose and preserving its cultural and historical significance.