Kashmir Highway : Choked Vein


News Kashmir Exclusive

Jammu Srinagar National Highway is a part of NH 44 (former name NH 1A before renumbering of all national highways) system and connects Srinagar (Kashmir Valley) with Jammu City. The distance between Jammu Tawi and Srinagar was 295 km and was reduced by about 30 km after commissioning of Chenani-Nashri Tunnel, new Banihal road tunnel and other small tunnels.

It is the only prominent road link connecting the valley of Kashmir with rest of country. As a matter of fact, All essentials of life are routed into the landlocked Kashmir Valley through this highway. To add to woes of masses in Kashmir the Hoarders and profiteers hike prices of essentials by creating artificial scarcity each time the highway remains closed for a longer period.

This year too owing to heavy snowfall in all winter, the highway in the most of times especially in the month of January has remained closed giving rise to multiple issues . Despite the promises made that rail link from Srinagar to Jammu would be operational soon the dream has remained so far elusive and will that remain functional during heavy snowfall also remains to be soon. Despite tunnels built the Jammu Srinagar highway has remained a weak point with landslides, blockades wrecking havoc every winter.

Also, the prices of air tickets  soar once highway get blocked.

We have also seen Hundreds of Kashmir-bound passengers stranded in Jammu for weeks this year due to highway closure and staged a massive demonstration, urging the government to take immediate steps to clear the road or airlift them to Kashmir. The passengers have often assembled at General Bus Stand Jammu urging authorities to be serious about their problems.

The high prices are a norm due to highway closures, and not having the enough quality cold storages and other mechanism remains an issue .

Malla Jameel Ahmed , a knowledgeable voice states : “In Kashmir valley, the storage of food is a big problem. The vegetable, fruit and cereal growers does not possess the knowledge regarding the storage of food and various means to increase the shelf life. Resultantly, lot of vegetable & fruit markets can be seen piled up with the waste of vegetable & fruit waste which get decomposed/putrefied due to improper storage. The cereal mainly rice which is distributed in government run fixed price shops are engulfed with rodents and other insects making it highly susceptible for human consumption. Thus we immediately see problems a road closes ”