Govt denies highway ban: Says civilian traffic movement is allowed on JK highway
Srinagar: The government Wednesday said there was no ban on civilian traffic movement due to ongoing Amarnath yatra but traffic was being regulated to avoid any congestion of Jammu-Srinagar national highway due to heavy rush of vehicles.
“I have seen claims on social media that there is ban on highway. Let me clarify that there is no ban on the highway. We have only adopted traffic regulation as the convoy is very long, giving rise to several concerns,” Divisional Commissioner Kashmir Baseer Ahmad Khan told reporters here.
Khan said as the Jammu-Srinagar national highway was narrow at many places, regulation of traffic had become inevitable to ensure that there are no traffic jams along the highway.
“Only yesterday four five persons got injured due to shooting stones. If there is a blockade on the highway in such a scenario (ladnslides or shooting stones), the civilians will face much more problems.
“Keeping this situation and traffic advisory in mind, we have kept slots for movement of various kinds of vehicles. There are restrictions for a very brief period and traffic is allowed as soon as the (Amarnath) convoy passes,” he said.
Khan said the administration has deployed magistrates at several places who conduct on spot verification of those people intending to use the highway during the restriction period.
“The applications, which are verified on the spot, are cleared on case to case basis,” he said.
The official said he had a meeting with people from travel trade and worked out a plan how to facilitate the tourists. “We have plan for facilitating people going to work and students going for studies”.
Khan said initially, there is a heavy rush of yatris with as many as 1500 vehicles coming to the valley on daily basis in the early days of the pilgrimage.
“To avoid any traffic jams, we have to restrict the movement. As the number of pilgrims falls after two weeks, the restrictions will also be eased,” he added.
On July 1, the traffic authorities had issued an order, barring movement of civilian traffic on a stretch of Srinagar-Jammu national highway for over five hours from 10 am to 3:30 pm in order to allow incident-free passage to vehicles carrying Amarnath pilgrims. (PTI)