Irked over the response of state Government in general and National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) in particular, who rejected the proposal of legislators to open the much awaited and now completed Chenani – Nashri Tunnel for public, people of Chenab Valley, who have remained cut off from rest of the state since last four days, have threatened to take to the streets if not opened at the earliest.
The residents of Chenab Valley, who are facing acute shortage of essential commodities and have got stuck up at their respective places due to heavy snowfall and slippery road conditions at Patni-Top stretch on NH1A, were hoping to get the required nod from government and NHIA to bail them out from the sufferings at this critical time.
After missing several deadlines, nine-km-long Chenani-Nashri Tunnel, which will not only reduce the Jammu – Srinagar distance by 35 km but also has the potential of making all weather connectivity to Chenab Valley, is finally ready to be commissioned.
But NHIA has cited clearance issues from different agencies before opening the tunnel for public.
The residents have termed it as a "lame excuse", saying that not only VIPs and influential but also their kith and kin are using the tunnel since last two months.
"Influential people and their relatives are enjoying the drive of the tunnel and also posting videos on social networking websites but unfortunately the same remains out of bounds for common people and that too when they require it the most," said a social worker from Bhaderwah Imtiaz-Ur-Rehman Butt.
"The attitude of both the union and state governments is really unfortunate and uncalled for as on one hand, they claim to be most honest and people friendly and on the other hand they are putting thousands of poor people to suffer and leaving them at the mercy of God for petty gains," said Anjuman-e-Isalamia President, Pervaiz Ahmed Sheikh adding that now they are left with no other option but to come on streets.
"This is totally disgusting to see the Government and authorities playing politics and making lame excuses at the cost of the miseries of poor people.
They have to mend their ways and open the tunnel for common masses at the earliest or get ready to face the consequences, said senior low paid employees federation leader, Shakeel Ahmed Dev of Doda.