Highway haunts Kashmir

Highway haunts Kashmir

Closure of the 270-km Jammu-Srinagar highway for nearly a month now has triggered acute shortage of essentials, including fuel, in Kashmir.
Agencies entrusted with the job to maintain this strategic highway, which connects Kashmir with rest of the world, seem to have no clue about how to prevent the landslides from recurring again and again. Stretch from Banihal to Ramban is giving sleepless nights to engineers as the frequent landslides at different places in this stretch have made the restoration work impossible.
The Jammu and Kashmir government too seems to have realized that reopening the highway for the traffic could take more time. On Sunday the government sought the help of Indian Air Force to airlift the stranded passengers from Jammu. Nearly 190 passengers were airlifted to Srinagar. Media reports suggest that thousands of passengers are stuck in Jammu and on the highway.
Another challenge which is staring at the government is that Kashmir has not received supplies for the past month and stocks are getting exhausted. People in the Valley have kept their fingers crossed and are hoping that highway would open and essentials would again appear in the Kashmir markets.
Very harsh winter this year has led to Srinagar-Jammu highway almost getting washed away. In fact the big mountains through which this highway passes seem to have become furious and are not allowing the restoration work to take place. The ambitious highway expansion plan has wreaked havoc from Banihal to Ramban as one can observe that mountains which stood tall before this haphazard expansion commenced have become hollow and are resisting the change by making the job of the executing agencies difficult. People of Kashmir can only hope that weather improves and the highway is restored.