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We are passing through the peak winter season, that too a harsh one this year. During this season the Jammu-Srinagar national highway used to remain open most of the time and help commuters and truckers to push in supplies to the valley and export fruit and other produce from here.
However, the national highway and its maintenance has raised several questions over the past several years now as even during the peak summer season the highway witnesses closure thereby affecting the supplies, movement of traffic and trade.
Since January first week Kashmir valley witnessed snowfall and rains and the Jammu-Srinagar national highway remained closed for days together. Later a part of the highway caved in at Ramban and since then the highway is giving tough time to commuters and drivers.
Ironically, the highway has been behaving pretty badly during the past three to four years now. All this is happening when Jammu and Kashmir is being portrayed as a new development model in the entire country. Not even a single day passes when the local administration and the union government too issues statements claiming that JK is witnessing a change for the good.
The Jammu-Srinagar highway has been troubling everybody from the past many years now. From an average commuter to a common man in the region everybody has been hit badly by the prolonged closure of the highway.
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 administration in providing a plan B which could have otherwise eased the miseries the people face 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. Last week two truckers died on the highway when it was closed for traffic. The drivers died due to cold.
There are other instances when drivers have complained that their vehicles along with the load and goods they are carrying are let stranded for weeks. The police and the authorities do not follow any pattern in allowing them safe passage along with 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 days when the road gets closed. 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.