Meet Kashmir youth who decked up historic bridge without government’s help

A view of Budshah Bridge during the night. (Source: Internet)

The water fountain installed on the historic Budshah Bridge in Srinagar has brought a new charm to the bridge attracting hundreds, but there is a 10-year long story behind the completion of the project.

Surprisingly, the project has not been set up by any government agency or department, but it is a pure volunteer work of a local youth. It is an outcome of 10-year long efforts of Old City boy Waseem Hassan Raja, who completed the project without any help from the government.

But even after two months of its installation, no government agency or department has so far owned the project. It continues to remain a property of Waseem.

“The concept of bridge fountain was submitted to the commissioner SMC in the year 2007. We were asked to collect the No Objection Certificates from almost every department – R&B, P.H.E, Irrigation and Flood Control, Traffic department and PDD. It took us around two years to collect all the certificates,” Waseem Raja said.

On 23rd April 2008, he presented the idea in the “Review meeting with regard to the beautification of Srinagar City”.

“It was appreciated by the then Mayor, and it was unanimously decided to install the fountain on the Budshah Bridge by the developer. However that time I didn’t get the chance to install due to certain obstructions,” he said.

Later, Waseem continued his efforts and approached numerous departments and well off persons for funding. “I failed at every level. But I continued the struggle,” he said.

In July this year, Waseem discussed it with one of his friend Mohammad Afzal who showed his interest to help him financially. “We started the work and it’s done. The fountain has changed the scene at the Budshah Bridge. It has been appreciated by public,” he said.

Waseem said the fountain gives a cooling effect especially when hot sun is overhead. “The water used for the operation of fountain is purely river water being lifted by the submersible motors. We have paid Rs 10,000 to power department for electricity charges,” he said.

Now, he wants the government to appreciate his initiative and allow him to install more fountains on the other bridges of Srinagar. “I want financial help from the government to continue with these projects,” he said.

The Civic body’s commissioner Shafqat Khan said they have not taken over the control yet. “It has been done by someone voluntarily. I have no idea who made it. We will see if we can own it, if it comes in our budget competence,” he said.