Valley remains cutoff
It was for the sixth straight day that the Jammu-Srinagar highway remained closed leaving thousands of stranding passengers in Jammu as well as in Srinagar, besides shortage of essentials in the valley and Ladakh divisions.
The bad condition of the road has made the job of making it motorable for authorities even more difficult as the highway is in a bad shape near Gagroo, Anokhi Fall and Battery Chashma area where even the debris clearance operations is proving to be a herculean task.
The closure of the road for a week now has left nearly 2,000 trucks, most of them carrying essentials to the Kashmir Valley stranded at various places on the highway. Besides, thousands of passengers have got stranded in the twin capitals of Jammu and Srinagar and these passengers are facing lot of difficulties to meet out their daily requirements.
The Jammu-Srinagar National highway is always in news during winter and those days whenever it rains or snows. The highway not only witnesses landslides but shooting stones also hamper any movement on the highway.
The closure of highway for days together is an annual feature with most of the days of winter season getting lost to clear the highway to make it ready for traffic. 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 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 Srinagar 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 after the Union Surface Transport Ministry had intimated the state government about declaring the Mughal road as an alternate national highway.
However, the announcement has not moved beyond papers and the Mughal road too faces closure once the weather takes a turn for the worse. Even the Mughal road faces closure for weeks owing to non-clearance of snow and debris that accumulates on the road due to landslides.
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.