The only surface connecting Jammu with Kashmir passes through hilly terrain and with the winter season people here have already been suffering on account of bad connectivity, Harsh weather often triggers landslides in the area, blocking the only lifeline to the valley.
Apart from this the messy traffic and the unorganized traffic system makes the commuters suffer even more. With the onset of the winter, the Traffic wing of Jammu Kashmir Police announces one way vehicular movement on the road, however as per travelers, the routine is hardly followed.
Following even the slightest of drizzle anywhere on the highway, the vehicular movement on the 245-km-long road between Khanabal and Jammu is often disrupted. The road is often blocked due to landslides at Nashri, Ramsoo, Banihal and various other regions.
For Bashir Ahmad Khan, a government employee who was travelling back from Jammu along with his two children on Thursday, it was very difficult to wait for three hours amid continuous traffic jams and the vehicles plying from both the sides despite the traffic Police having announced the movement of traffic from Jammu- Srinagar only, “My children were shivering in cold till the road was cleared for traffic,” he told The Kashmiriyat.
The stranded travellers had to wait for the men and machinery of the Beacon, looking after the road clearance operation, even as they rued the plight of the area. Like many other commuters, Ahmad remained stuck on the National Highway for many hours.
“with the onset of the winter season, the trouble for people has already started,” said another commuter.
“The Jammu- Srinagar road is a national highway, but it awaits an upgrade since many years,” said Bashir Ahmed, who works for the Jammu Kashmir Government. He said the Government of India was interested in constructing a tunnel to provide all-weather connectivity to the area and believed that the work on it would start next year.
Officials confirmed to The Kashmiriyat that the Border Road Organisation has plans to construct tunnels, but said there was no word on its commissioning yet.
The travelers say they suffer as people mostly remain confused about the undecided vehicular Movement. The Kashmiriyat called the Police officials at 10 pm in the night to check whether the traffic was plying from Jammu to Srinagar or otherwise, however the Official on the Phone said it was “undecided.” Many people while speaking to The Kashmiriyat demanded the development of a mobile application which would provide updates on the National Highway.
“The road on this side of the pass has not witnessed any development, which often leads to problems,” alleged Rashid Shah of Pulwama. At times, the road remains blocked for weeks due to heavy snowfall, affecting the supply of essential commodities.
Pertinently people apart from Moving from Kashmir valley to Jammu during winters, the Durbar also moves to the winter capital, Jammu. Moreover, all important offices including the High court function in Jammu for the winter season.
Author: Sheikh Nadeem
Nadeem is a graduate and the correspondent for The Kashmiriyat for Kokernag Area