Tribune News Service=
Amritsar, January 15
Bridges on defence drain, which connect residents of the villages alongside the international border with the mainland has its safety grills missing. The defence drain was dug up decades ago to serve twin purpose; a strategic military barrier in case of infiltration and to get rid of excess rainwater.
Around hundred villages lie beyond the defence drain in Amritsar and Tarn Taran districts alone. Starting from Attari till Khemkaran, around 40 bridges connect these villages. Due to absence of safety grills, bridges have turned into a nightmare for commuters, especially during foggy season.
In 2016, seven school children had died after their school bus fell into the defence drain near Mahawa village. The drain at numerous points has very narrow bridges, which not only makes commuting difficult for two-wheelers, but also for pedestrians.
Kulrattan Singh, a resident of Attari, said, “There was much hue and cry when seven children had lost their lives. Ideally, the government should have come forward and ensure that all bridges have proper safety grills. But even after four years, the situation is same and everybody has forgotten the tragic accident.”
Residents of the border belt stated that bridges were a big cause for concern and every time during elections, politicians promise to get them repaired. “But after elections, promises are often forgotten. No improvement is witnessed in the last two decades,” said another resident, Jagdev Singh.
Residents had asked the MLAs and MPs to widen bridges, but no action has been taken on the ground despite repeated pleas. The political parties claimed that they were helpless as bridges on defence drain were under the jurisdiction of the Indian Army.
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