Highway or my way

Published at February 06, 2019 12:29 AM 0Comment(s)4167views

Highway or my way

The nightmare that the lone Srinagar-Jammu highway which connects the two regions has become following frequent disruptions due to weather needs a purging. During this winter, the highway has been a constant source of worry to thousands of passengers and traders. While as authorities keep themselves confined to issuance of traffic advisories on the highway, the government seems to be least bothered about the hardships that people have to face due to routine road closures. Developing the road infrastructure in the region requires capital, an investment that the state may not be able to raise or bear on its own. However, with the onus on the union government to share the responsibility, Kashmir valley by now should have been well connected with the other regions. It is a shame that the road ties with Kashmir get severed by few inches of snow when there are metro lines established in several states and cities. While as earlier union governments under PMGSY (Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana) improved the road infrastructure, particularly in rural belts, the highway continued to be neglected except for the band aid measures like routine maintenance. With the result Kashmir in 2019 is no different than Kashmir in 2009 or 1999, as trade and travel on the highway gets halted every year during the winters. A report titled “NH 444: The Anti-National Highway” published in this newspaper exposed the flawed policy of the governments, both state and the union. The fate of the highway (NH 444) is on expected lines with the funds that have been reduced gradually to such a low that the project does not seem to be viable anymore. The irony presented by this alternate four-lane project also depicts the present situation vis-à-vis the roads in Kashmir – a bridge is under constructions and on its two ends the land is yet to be required. It is in the middle of nowhere as of now, and it would be foolish to think of it as an option. As the fact stands and also the report confirms, the Rs 42,611 crores for roads and highway projects seem to go down the drain. Recently, we have witnessed protests in Kargil region with the people demanding opening of Kargil-Skardu road. With the closure of Mughal Road and Srinagar-Kargil road, the only link that connects Kashmir with the rest of the world is also of no use following the disruptions. The government ought to consider opinion and needs of the people rather than proceed with its own ways.


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