Raahat Shines in Highway blockade

Raahat upholding hospitality of Kashmir, set up langar at Qazigund for truckers on national highway

Younus Rashid

Following heavy snowfall, and recent damage to the road at Kela Morh in Ramban has led to hundreds of truckers and tourists stranded on Srinagar Jammu national highway. Truck drivers are stranded from past 10days and as mercury dips to -8°c in Qazigund, they are left to God’s mercy. Hundreds of trucks are lined up on highway from checkpoint Levdoura Qazigund, day by day their miseries go up as no facility is being provided to them. Non-availability of drinking water, public convenience has added fuel to the anguished driver stranded here in Qazigund. No one from the administration has visited us except yesterday when they came with a dry kit of ration but, where will we go in this snow-clad area to get drinking water toilet alongside the highway is nowhere available, said a stranded driver.

Observing difficulties of stranded drivers a young group of guys have set up a community kitchen at Badragund (Daulatabad) in Qazigund area to at least help these drivers by providing them free of cost meals.

Lunch and dinner are being served, a young volunteer knocks at the window of truck asks the driver ‘ustad Ji free langar haa, bartan niklo and laylo dal chawal’ these words go on repeating at every single window of the truck, and likewise, drivers come and take a cooked food in their utensils and move back to the respective vehicle.

A youth committee under the banner of Raahat A Ray of Hope is reaching out to them with two-time meals -lunch and dinner in Qazigund. The young volunteers of Raahat are tirelessly working from dawn to dusk by preparing and distributing meals among the stranded truckers.

The food is catered via private cabs and served to passengers, spread across the area, in disposable packets as well. On the 3rd consecutive day, tourists and truckers are being served who are stranded on the Kashmir side of the tunnel. These young boys were seen busy in the distribution of dinner despite bone-chilling cold when the sun goes down and the temperature dips to minus.

A young volunteer Asrar Rayees says, he is pleased to do such work. There is no real pleasure than to reach out to stranded people with whatever possible is from our side, we are known for hospitality so we must keep it continue, Asrar added.

We are very much thankful to all these people who come to us with meals and other things, we never feel any kind of hindrance here, they are loving people, said a driver from Haryana state.

Restoration of Srinagar Jammu national highways will take few more day till then we are here to help them (drivers), we will continue this langar
(community kitchen) until the highway is not restored, says Khan Lalee the chairman of Team Raahat.

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