We are faced with yet another long winter season and the issues that have been affecting us over the past few years remain unchanged. The prime issue which the people in Kashmir face is the road connectivity that gets disturbed once winter sets in.
Though roads and highways are mean for connectivity, development and progress, but unfortunately the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway fails to provide all the three. The winter months prove to be the most disturbing as far as the status of the Jammu-Srinagar national highway is concerned. The highway remains closed for most part of the time and things may not see any improvement in near future.
The highway has been troubling everybody from the past many years now. From an average commuter to transporters everybody has been hit badly by the prolonged periods of closure of the highway.
The most affected are the stranded passengers in Jammu and Srinagar who face virtual starvation when the road closes and they have nowhere to go.
Closure of the Jammu-Srinagar Highway is becoming a new normal now. The highway has been giving trouble to the commuters since long now. However, what is worrying is the callous attitude of the present government in providing a plan B which could have eased the miseries the people faced due to the closure of the road.
People have been narrating harrowing tales about the callous attitude of the government as no arrangements are made at the public sheds that have been erected at some places to cater to the needs of the people in crisis situations.
There are instances when drivers have complained that their vehicles alongwith the load and goods they are carrying are left stranded for weeks. The police and the authorities do not follow any pattern in allowing them safe passage alongwith normal passenger vehicles.
The drivers who get stuck with no resources have to mortgage the documents of their vehicles to secure a loan from shopkeepers so that they could survive the cold wintry days and nights. This alarming situation should act as a wakeup call for the government.
But as of now nothing of this sort is happening as people have complained of the same old attitude on the part of the administration. Even though a new administration is manning all the affairs but the situation has hardly changed when it comes to the all important national highway.
Interestingly, the matters are headed for turning worse as the downpour during the winter season is all set to begin in the region and travelling on the highway will be more harrowing and problematic.
During the winter phase the air travel also gives nightmares to the travelers for two reasons. One is the hike in passenger fares and the second one being the cancellation of flights due to bad weather. During such periods the highway proves the only medium of travel for the common people who are left with no option than to cancel their travel plans as the highway is no longer dependent and trust worthy.