Removing troubles along the Jammu-Srinagar highway being a priority for successive governments has almost become meaningless. It is the only road-link of the Kashmir with outside. Officially the thoroughfare is all-weather road which also connects J&K’s twin capitals of Srinagar and Jammu. However, it has perennially been a nightmarish experience for people. The 270-km long road remains shut for days and even weeks due to landslides, soil-erosion, frost and other weather related occurrences, not only in winter but also in other seasons. Of late shooting of stones at places and heavy traffic movement keep the thoroughfare closed. The frequent closure of the strategic road has resulted into huge economic losses in the Valley where scarcity of essential commodities including food-grains and gasoline is a usual phenomenon particularly in winter. The situation is often seized by unscrupulous traders who sell goods at exorbitant prices to the people of Kashmir.
As days progress into the season of rains and snowfall, the road is bound to see more disruptions. At the cost of repetition, the problem is not new and there has been no answer, from those who are at the helm, to the question that the people have been asking for decades now: “how long would these closures, and disruptions, happen on the highway.”
More often than not, there are also tragic accidents on the highway and they keep on repeating along the road, synonymous to lifeline for the people of the Kashmir for dependency on food and other essentials.
The strategic road has tragically, and historically too, also consumed numerous lives. The death of any person is colossal and no amount can bring back to families who lose their loved ones, their bread-earners.
Unfortunately, there seems to be no end to it as the successive governments have not taken enough measures to address the issues.
Whether there is negligence on part of the officials or could these deaths been averted is a matter of inquiry but the successive government have not taken enough measures to address the issues.
The administration has not even utilized the lockdown due to pandemic to speed up the work on highway and remove the bottlenecks. One would expect the construction work accelerated as unless the widening is complete and the defences erected at various places to disallow the landslides from blocking the thoroughfare, nothing can stop nightmarish experience for the commuters due to the pathetic condition of the road.