In the last week, the residents of Karnah tehsil staged protests in Kashmir against the delay in starting construction work on a tunnel that would link Kupwara with Karnah. Kupwara-Karnah road which is 78 kms traverses through mountains which are prone to avalanches during winters. The 6 km tunnel from Chowkibal-Chamkot would shorten the distance considerably. One of the protestors of Karnah said at Press Enclave earlier that the high pass track has claimed hundreds of lives. In winter heavy snowfall in the region severs its link with Kupwara leaving thousands of people stranded. On Saturday, complete shutdown was observed in Karnah and adjoining areas besides the closure of the road. Wali Ahmad Qureshi who is the president of Sadhna Tunnel Co-ordination Committee told a news agency that three of the residents died recently as they couldn’t be ferried to hospital and that every year people die due to the absence of the tunnel on Sadhna top. The relentless demand of the people of Karnah needs to be taken seriously by the government as it is not just a matter of convenience but a matter of life and death. The overall progress in developing the road infrastructure in Kashmir valley in the last few years has seen a decline. Barring few, construction on several projects has either been halted or is proceeding at snail’s pace. The ordeal that the people of Karnah have to go through each winter is understood as Kashmir valley also gets marooned during winters when Srinagar-Jammu highway is closed. Although it can’t be said as when the people of the affected region may have their sigh of relief, but the sooner the work is started on the tunnel the better it will be. On road infrastructure, as has been pointed out in numerous debates, there are two challenges that the state needs to overcome. The first is round the year connectivity of Kashmir valley with the rest of the state and the second is the round the year inter-connectivity between various parts of the valley. Not only tehsil like Karnah demands the attention of the state government and political leadership but all those areas that are cut off in the wake of landslides, avalanches or other natural phenomena. It is as much the failure of state government as it is the failure of the political leadership. Although political leaders have been raising concerns, mostly when the elections are near, but how they pursue the matter is disputable.