Wake up to JK’s needs
It was after several days of disruption that the vehicular movement on the Jammu-Srinagar national highway, the only all-weather road linking the Kashmir Valley with the rest of the country, was partially restored on Sunday.
One-way traffic from Jammu towards Srinagar was allowed in view of the improvement in the weather and after clearing the snow on the road as the authorities were compelled to open the road as the flight operations at Srinagar airport were also his after weather turned hostile on Friday.
On Saturday, the plains in the Valley witnessed one of the heaviest snowfalls in the recent years, leading to disruption of surface as well as air traffic. The snowfall, which lasted from Friday afternoon to Saturday morning, threw life out of gear across Kashmir.
The Jammu-Srinagar National highway is always in news during winter and those days whenever any sort of downpour happens here. The highway not only witnesses landslides but shooting stones also hamper any movement on the highway.
The closure of highway for days together is a routine which people face every now and then once weather pattern observes a change. The closure not only cuts off the Valley from the rest of the world but it also leads to curtailments of supplies to the Valley which is almost dependent on all its needs on the supplies coming from Punjab, Delhi and other parts of the state.
Even today, the Valley has been facing acute shortage of fresh vegetable and other supplies as the highway is witnessing a closure. Besides, the stranded passengers too have to go through lot of troubles to arrange for their boarding and lodgings at Jammu and other places costing them a fortune.
All this has been over the years making us realize that Jammu and Kashmir needs an alternate highway other than the NH1 so that the issue of all weather connectivity is settled once and for all. Though some breakthrough was managed some years back as the Union Surface Transport Ministry had intimated the state government about declaring Mughal road as an alternate national highway between Jammu and Valley.
Though a formal request was made by the government to declare Mughal Road as an alternate national highway until the completion of four lanning of the existing Jammu-Srinagar national highway, no headway was made in making Mughal road a reliable alternative.
The Mughal road could have been a viable alternative but this alternative needs time and attention both from the state as well as the state government. The road which could have been a game changer needs some funds which it has been craving for many years now.
All this shows that the central government lacks a will to help the state of Jammu and Kashmir to come out of the cocoon it has to seep into once weather system witnesses a change.
The over dependence on one particular highway has time and again raised the demand that some other alternatives need to be worked out. But how long will the federal government take to realize this, is a million dollar question.