Srinagar, Nov 19: The onset of winter in Kashmir has once again brought the 270-km Srinagar-Jammu National Highway into limelight. It is in the news once again for getting blocked due to landslides and inclement weather conditions.
An expert while talking to Precious Kashmir said, “The condition of the Srinagar-Jammu highway has deteriorated since the day its expansion work commenced. The executing agencies are running short of ideas about how to handle this vital road link which connects Kashmir with the rest of the country.”
He said, “Every year people are told that the work on the highway has been expedited and the trouble spots are being taken care of but it seems these claims are confined to papers only.”
The expert said that earlier there were only a few spots on the Srinagar-Jammu highway that were vulnerable. “Now, the entire highway has become risky,” he added.
“The agencies that have been assigned the job of turning Srinagar-Jammu highway into four lane road seem to be clueless about how to stop landslides and shooting stones. These agencies have carried out the digging work haphazardly and now the mountains and hills are collapsing. They are finding it hard to come up with a solution to keep the highway open throughout the year,” the expert added.
An observer said, “Everyone is aware of the fact that Kashmir is dependent on this highway for the supply of essential commodities and once this road gets blocked most of the things disappear from the markets and prices skyrocket.”
He said, “Ever year the story gets repeated and there seems to be no solution. It appears that four laning of Srinagar-Jammu highway will still take many years. Till then people will have to bear.”
The observer said, “The most important task which the executing agencies need to concentrate on is to come up with a plan to rectify the fault lines along the highway. Till these fault lines are not taken care of, the Srinagar-Jammu highway will continue to torment the commuters.”
An official said, “The inclement weather during winter has been a part and parcel of Kashmir. The administration is aware of the fact that the highway gets blocked off and on during the winter months. We have stocked enough essentials to ensure that people don’t face any problem if the highway is closed.”
He said, “The highway expansion work is on and when it turns into four lane it will drastically reduce the distance between Jammu and Srinagar. We are hopeful that all the fault lines along the highway will be taken care of and in coming years the highway blockade will become a history.”