Traffic snarls, shooting stone, landslides keep travellers on toes
Srinagar, Sep 3: The 270-km long Srinagar-Jammu National Highway has been in the news since the day weather has turned inclement. The only all weather road connecting Kashmir with rest of the country has witnessed frequent closures during the past few days.
A commuter who reached Srinagar from Jammu on late Wednesday night while talking to Precious Kashmir said, “Road from Ramban to Banihall is in shambles. Till this stretch is not repaired this highway will continue to haunt the commuters and the accidents will keep on taking place. Panthyal has become a nightmare for drivers. Shooting stones and landslides hit the highway almost daily.”
The commuter said that massive traffic snarls on the highway have made travelling very difficult. “Vehicles don’t move at all for hours together as the road has become very narrow due to the ongoing widening work of the highway,” he added.
The commuter said that anyone who wants to travel from Srinagar to Jammu should bear it in mind that it’s not a 6-hour journey and it takes at least 12 hours to cover the 270-km distance.
An official of the traffic department said, “Regulating traffic on this highway is the most difficult job as it has got many bottlenecks from Ramban to Banihal. The agencies carrying out the widening of this highway have to expedite the work to make this road reliable. Blaming traffic officials for the highway mess is unfair.”
It’s in place to mention here that after the outbreak of COVID-19 in March this year, the movement of civilian traffic on the National Highway remained suspended for a longtime and only the vehicles carrying essential commodities were allowed to ply. The movement of the civilian vehicles started from the last month but after that inclement weather has played a villain.
A transporter said, “Our community has suffered huge losses during the past one year. We have been struggling to make our ends meet since August last year. First the movement was curtailed due to disturbances and then the winters arrived. This year Kashmir witnessed very harsh winters which led to the highway getting blocked for days together. Then after that COVID-19 arrived in March this year and since that day our woes have multiplied.”
He said, “We were hoping that lifting of lockdown will provide us with some respite but it has not happened as plying passenger vehicles on the highway has become a difficult job.”
An official said, “Widening of Srinagar-Jammu National Highway is on the top of Government’s agenda and all the efforts are being put to ensure that this highway becomes one of the best roads in the country. It’s just a matter of time. Very soon Jammu-Srinagar National Highway will become 4-lane and the distance between two cities will be covered within a few hours.”