72-year-old Kashmir Gurdwara makes way for Srinagar-Baramulla National Highway

In the presence of DC Srinagar and Gurudwara management, the demolition of Gurudwara Damdama Saheb started on Thursday. 

72-year-old Kashmir Gurdwara makes way for Srinagar-Baramulla National Highway

A long-pending issue that stalled the expansion of Parimpora-Narbal stretch of Srinagar-Baramulla national highway has been resolved after authorities in Srinagar reached an agreement with the management of Gurdwara on Thursday (December 12). The Gurudwara Damdama Saheb in Srinagar agreed to make a way for the construction of National Highway after successful talks between Gurudwara management and Deputy Commissioner, Srinagar, Dr Shahid Iqbal Choudhary, who reached out to the Sikh Community for an amicable solution to the vexed issue. 

The long unsettled issue of relocation of the Damdama Sahib Gurdwara at Zainakote whose case has been in court since 2015. After a series of meetings for the last one week, and examining a host of options to resolve the issue, both sides arrived at an amicable agreement. This included alternate land and reconstruction of Gurudwara at a nearby land finalised by the deputy commissioner in consultation with the community.

In the presence of DC Srinagar and Gurudwara management, the demolition of Gurudwara Damdama Saheb started on Thursday. 

"The Gurudwara will function from a makeshift space till a new Gurudwara is reconstructed at the agreed location. State Public Works Department (PWD) has been entrusted with the responsibility for the construction of Gurudwara as per the design provided by the Sangat," said an official spokesperson. 

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The construction of National Highway from Srinagar to Baramulla started in 2006. The project, funded under the Prime Minister Development Plan, was expected to complete in the year 2013, but due to litigation, it could not see the light of day. The bottlenecks included a Gurudwara, a power line, a Petrol pump, and water supply lines. A landowner, whose land was proposed for relocation of Gurudwara, objected to it and obtained a stay from J&K High Court in 2014.

Since then the landowner, Gurudwara committee, Collector land acquisition, and the government have been contesting as parties to the case. At least 27 meetings were held between 2013 to 2019, but the issue remained unresolved.

"The gesture of Sikh Community here has created a history in Kashmir and will be remembered by everyone. The administrative outreach of the DC Srinagar to resolve this 13 year-long pending issue is an example of a proactive approach for an efficient resolution aimed at public welfare," said the official Spokesperson.

With the resolution of the issues which hampered the expansion of the highway along this stretch for the last several years, the Border Roads Organisation can now resume the work.