Munddaji’s natural beauty hampered by lack of concrete bridge

Munddaji’s natural beauty hampered by lack of concrete bridge

Locals say bridge vital to boost tourism; DPR proposed, yet to be approved: Official

Munddaji, a picturesque tourist destination in Rafiabad in north Kashmir’a Baramulla district, is grappling with a persistent issue – the absence of a concrete bridge. Locals believe that this crucial gap not only disrupts the seamless experience for tourists but also poses recurring challenges, as the temporary bridges often succumb to the rushing waters of a stream.

Munddaji, a major attraction for both locals and tourists, is nestled in the mountains surrounded by lush green forests. Situated in the last village of Rafiabad in Sopore jurisdiction, it is geographically accessible from the Kupwara district. However, due to poor road conditions, people prefer the Dangiwacha route to reach their destination.

Expressing their concern, locals told the news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO) that visitors and tourists seeking the natural beauty of the destination face challenges due to the absence of a bridge, hindering its growth. There is an urgent need for a bridge to make the destination easily accessible and to welcome tourists with open arms, they said.

The demand for the bridge is not just about tourism; it's about making life easier for everyone living there, they said, adding that the destination caters to several villages including Hamam, Markoot, and Donivwari, which face difficulties in crossing the water during certain seasons.

“We have been pressing hard for its construction, but to no avail,” locals added.

Mansoor Ahmed Mir, a Sarpanch of the area, recounted the instances where tourists eager to explore Munddaji’s scenic wonders found their journey thwarted due to the absence of a concrete bridge. This has become an impediment affecting both tourists and locals alike, he said.

The Sarpanch said the residents, along with local authorities, often have to launch rescue operations as the temporary makeshift bridges succumb to the rushing waters of the Wari stream. “Launching rescue operations has become a common occurrence,” he said.

Mir said the destination’s potential as a flourishing tourist hotspot is marred by the unpredictable stream water. “It’s disheartening to see our destination hindered by this recurring issue,” he said while emphasising the urgency of constructing a concrete bridge to ensure a reliable and permanent solution.

Meanwhile, the Sarpanch hailed the efforts of the district administration, saying that the destination lacked infrastructure, road and mobile connectivity, which are now being witnessed on the ground. “By and large, people are availing the necessities,” he added.

Speaking to KNO, Assistant Executive Engineer (AEE) of Roads and Building (R&B) Department, Watergam, Javeed Hafeez, said the detailed project report (DPR) for the bridge has been proposed but is yet to get approved. The bridge’s estimate is approximately around 6 crores rupees, the official said.

It’s worth mentioning that on February 22 this year, the district administration hosted its first winter sports event at Munddaji. Deputy Commissioner Baramulla Sehrish Asgar, on the occasion, said the destination is a tourism village that will not only promote tourism but also boost the local economy.

“Administration is putting all efforts to bring such virgin places with tourism potential on the map,” the DC then said

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