2 dozen Amritsar border bridges lack guardrails : The Tribune India

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2 dozen Amritsar border bridges lack guardrails

2 dozen Amritsar border bridges lack guardrails

A bridge without safety grill near Sarai Amanant Khan. Vishal Kumar



Tribune News Service

Manmeet Singh Gill

Amritsar, November 30

Nearly seven years after seven children lost their lives and 20 others sustained injuries after a school bus fell into a drain near Mahawa village, the district authorities seem to have learnt no lessons as more than two dozen bridges over the twin defence drains lack proper safety railings in this rural border belt.

With foggy season round the corner, these bridges pose a serious threat to the safety of commuters. A visit to the rural border belt revealed not a single bridge having an intact safety railing. These bridges on the defence drains connect nearly 125 villages along the border with Pakistan with the mainland. These drains were dug up decades ago with the twin purpose of strategic military barrier in case of infiltration and draining out excess rainwater.

Local residents complained while some of the safety grills were damaged in accidents, others were stolen by drug addicts to get their fix. “No one seems to be responsible for the upkeep of these. During the school bus accident of 2016, the issue was raised by local political leaders, who promised to get these railings fixed if voted to power,” said Rajinder Singh, a resident. The residents said the 2016 accident could have been averted had the bridge supported railings.

“The roads are in bad shape in the rural areas and are unsafe for driving during the foggy season. These lack the white markings to guide the drivers and are narrow, increasing chances of an accident,” said Rattan Singh Randhawa, a farm leader.

Randhawa said soon after the 2016 accident, government functionaries had made announcements of getting new grills installed. “It seems the government is waiting for another mishap to occur before waking up,” he added.

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