Editorial | Blacktopping the roads

For last one year J&K has experienced certain events that caused disruption in the normal functioning of the departments responsible for the development of infrastructure. The upkeep of old roads and laying out of new roads is one area that witnessed very slow or no work for last many months. In the valley of Kashmir the development of roads, particularly blacktopping is done after the month of March, because the temperature in the winter months is not favourable to a thing like blacktopping. So it was expected that with the month of April the work on dilapidated roads would begin. But that was not to happen because of the outbreak of the pandemic. More months, as the lockdown extended, were consumed. But now, as we are heading towards unlock, the concerned department has decided to start work on the damaged roads in a full swing. This is a good news, and one can hope that the work starts before yesterday.

The department, Roads and Buildings, targets to blacktop 4,000 km of road length in J&K this financial year, and of this the department has already completed macadmization of 400 km after the easing up of COVID19 restrictions. So far so good. But there are certain things that need to be reminded. One, why is it that every year we have to blacktop our roads. Is there something wrong with the quality of the material used for blacktopping. Two, in the winter months when snow clearance on roads is done why care is not taken to save the surface from damaging. Third, and this is very crucial, when blacktopping is done the damaged surface is not scratched. The result is that every year the level of the road goes up by an inch or two. Consequently the adjacent houses become prone to water logging. It damages the houses and causes huge loss to individual house owners. Why can’t the top layer be fist removed to maintain the surface level.