Woes of stranded passengers
Hundreds of passengers are stranded in the Srinagar-Jammu highway for the past few days. As usual the profiteers are making quick bucks by fleecing the hapless souls. The indifferent authorities have so far failed to do the needful. There are reports that some of the passengers have exhausted all the money they were carrying and are now at the mercy of the fellow passengers. This happens every year on the highway but the authorities seem in no mood to learn lessons from the past experiences. Two days ago, the Hajj and Auqaf minister informed the legislative assembly about its plans to construct inns in Jammu for the convenience of the people who pour in the city of temples from various places. This is a noble idea and the Auqaf must go for it. But can the Auqaf remain a mute spectator to the sufferings of the passengers who are forced to spend chilly nights on the highway when it gets blocked especially when the authorities are not doing anything in this regard? The Auqaf has enough resources to construct inns at various places on the highway. The money with Auqaf is public money and must be utilised for the public good. Similarly other religious bodies of Hindus and Sikhs must consider similar projects for the passengers. Meanwhile, while the passengers continue to suffer, the authorities must rush at least ration and blankets to them. This is the least they can do. The authorities further need to reshape their strategy viz-a-viz the highway. The experts have long before suggested a solution to prevent blockade due to landslides. They have suggested laying of `iron ribs' at places which turn problematic on a slight drizzle. It's not that expensive and there is no harm in trying it. The other alternative is to give Mughal Road the much needed tunnel to make it dependable. The tunnel project, it has been learnt, has not been cleared by government of India for various reasons. According to the MeT office, the weather is likely to improve and the road clearance can be undertaken on a war footing basis. The authorities must gear up.