05-27-2022     3 رجب 1440

The Highway Mess

January 08, 2022 |

In spite of all the high claims of development and changing the infrastructural landscape of J&K, the Jammu-Srinagar highway continues to be a commuter’s nightmare. There are reports every now and then which point out that the highway, the strategic link that connects Kashmir with the rest of the country, has got choked due to landslides and shooting stones. In the ‘modern world’ that we are inhabiting, a few hours of rain or few inches of snow turns the highway out of bounds for commuters. The blockade also triggers shortage of essentials like fuel, mutton, rice and others in the market while it also hands a free stick to black marketers who stock up and create artificial shortage of essentials, which subsequently leads to rise in prices. Earlier, it used to be a small portion of the highway between Qazigund and Banihal that was affected by landslides. Now the entire stretch of the strategic road till Udhampur faces similar problems. Whenever the government faces a crisis situation, which is particularly visible during the prevailing winter, committees are set up to identify the loopholes and remove the bottlenecks in the process of four-laning of the highway. But these committees end up buying time. Nothing changes on the ground. The situation in fact has been getting from bad to worse. Even the basic issue such as the land acquisition process has not been completed fully, even though all the working sites have been handed over to the NHAI for starting construction works. Last year, a senior officer of the government said the four-laning project would be completed within months. But given the pace at which the work is going on, it seems that even two years may not be enough to finish work on the highway. It is true that in view of the topography of the hilly terrain between Ramban and Banihal which includes more tunnels and bridges to avoid landslides and sinking areas, the work has got somewhat delayed. But the NHAI and contractors have failed in ensuring proper maintenance of existing roads for hassle-free movement of vehicles. Environmentalists have been expressing concerns that constant digging and other excavation works on the massive mountains along the 270-km road stretch have made the highway more prone to shooting stones and landslides. They have argued that the worse is yet to come. Hopefully, the government will complete the construction of the road before Kashmir is eternally cut off from the rest of the country.

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The Highway Mess

January 08, 2022 |

In spite of all the high claims of development and changing the infrastructural landscape of J&K, the Jammu-Srinagar highway continues to be a commuter’s nightmare. There are reports every now and then which point out that the highway, the strategic link that connects Kashmir with the rest of the country, has got choked due to landslides and shooting stones. In the ‘modern world’ that we are inhabiting, a few hours of rain or few inches of snow turns the highway out of bounds for commuters. The blockade also triggers shortage of essentials like fuel, mutton, rice and others in the market while it also hands a free stick to black marketers who stock up and create artificial shortage of essentials, which subsequently leads to rise in prices. Earlier, it used to be a small portion of the highway between Qazigund and Banihal that was affected by landslides. Now the entire stretch of the strategic road till Udhampur faces similar problems. Whenever the government faces a crisis situation, which is particularly visible during the prevailing winter, committees are set up to identify the loopholes and remove the bottlenecks in the process of four-laning of the highway. But these committees end up buying time. Nothing changes on the ground. The situation in fact has been getting from bad to worse. Even the basic issue such as the land acquisition process has not been completed fully, even though all the working sites have been handed over to the NHAI for starting construction works. Last year, a senior officer of the government said the four-laning project would be completed within months. But given the pace at which the work is going on, it seems that even two years may not be enough to finish work on the highway. It is true that in view of the topography of the hilly terrain between Ramban and Banihal which includes more tunnels and bridges to avoid landslides and sinking areas, the work has got somewhat delayed. But the NHAI and contractors have failed in ensuring proper maintenance of existing roads for hassle-free movement of vehicles. Environmentalists have been expressing concerns that constant digging and other excavation works on the massive mountains along the 270-km road stretch have made the highway more prone to shooting stones and landslides. They have argued that the worse is yet to come. Hopefully, the government will complete the construction of the road before Kashmir is eternally cut off from the rest of the country.


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Owner, Printer, Publisher, Editor: Farooq Ahmad Wani
Legal Advisor: M.J. Hubi
Printed at: Abid Enterprizes, Zainkote Srinagar
Published from: Gulshanabad Chraresharief Budgam
RNI No.: JKENG/2010/33802
Office No’s: 0194-2451076, 9622924716 , 9419400056
Postal Regd No: SK/135/2010-2019
Administrative Office: Abi Guzer Srinagar

© Copyright 2018 brighterkashmir.com All Rights Reserved.