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Building Bridges is What This IAS Officer Does Best

Building bridges in Jammu & Kashmir that not only connect people, but save lives and generate employment as well. Dr Shahid Iqbal Choudhary’s unique approach has already won him four national awards.
Indian Masterminds Stories

Time and again, Jammu and Kashmir region has faced issues that have caused hindrance in the development of the state. A pivotal hurdle that has been obstructing development is the lack of proper connectivity within the largely hilly state. However, the state’s growth has gained momentum after Dr Shahid Iqbal Choudhary, an IAS officer of the Jammu and Kashmir cadre, was appointed as the Deputy Commissioner of Udhampur, Kashmir.

Initiating the scheme `Rahat’- which means help- this young officer has spearheaded the construction of 320 bridges in J & K. This feat has also resulted in thousands of local people getting employment opportunities.

Native of Rehan Village of Rajouri, Dr Choudhary noticed that his hometown, along with other isolated villages, faced issues with flooding. Recurring floods in rivulets and `nullahs’, which had no foot-over bridges, resulted in several deaths. In fact, several kids lost their lives while trying to cross these `nullahs’ to reach their schools.

Re-Connecting with Bridges

Deciding to build bridges

Therefore, after becoming an IAS, Dr Choudhary undertook the task of buildings bridges in order to increase connectivity in remote areas. He kickstarted his mission in 2013 when, as the Deputy Commissioner of Reasi District, he built 70 wooden bridges there.

Later on, when he took charge of Udhampur district as its the Deputy Commissioner, Dr Choudhary found that here too people were facing similar problems, on account of  no or very few bridges. During monsoon, when rainwater caused even small rivers to flood, children were unable to attend schools.



Project `Rahat’

Bridge under `Rahat’ scheme

It was here in Udhampur that Dr Choudhary launched the `Rahat project in 2015. In the last five years, by using the DRDO technology, 320 bridges have been constructed and this project has helped 327 schools. Notably, this project has generated 43000 man-days of employment for the local public. Dr Choudhary’s determination is truly remarkable and his successful initiative has made life easy for the locals.

Academics & Awards

Connecting people within their own district was a remarkable achievement. For this, Dr Choudhary  was awarded the Indian Express Excellence Award in 2019.

A 2009 batch IAS officer, Dr Choudhary did his graduation in Bachelors of Veterinary Sciences and Animal Husbandry from Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology, Jammu. He has a post graduate degree in MSc Natural Resource Management from Forest Research Institute, Dehradun.

Dr Choudhary’s excellent body of work is visible through a plethora of other initiatives that he has undertaken. Currently appointed as the Deputy Commissioner of Srinagar, Dr Choudhary showcased efficient administrative work during the 2016 flash floods in Leh. He helped in the reconstruction of 600 damaged homes, in the process providing succour to large number of people.

Dr Choudhary receiving national award from Prime Minister Narendra Modi

For his contributions towards development of Jammu & Kashmir, Dr Choudhary has been conferred with 4 National Awards:  National Award for Best Electoral conduct, National Award for E-Governance, Prime Minister’s Award for Excellence in Public Administration and National Award for Women Empowerment






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