As the season of rainfall begins people in the valley have a huge problem to face. And this is a perennial affair. The lone road connection between Srinagar and Jammu remains in the news for all the bad reasons. Just a rainfall and we have pictures of landslides flashed across social media, and then in the regular mainstream media. The huge mass of detritus at various points on this long stretch is how people know this road. The long traffic jams spread over kilometres, and passengers stranded for days together, is a usual affair on this road. This time also, like before, a moderate rainfall caused disruptions in this road and consequently we have problems in transportation. As we move into the season of rains and snowfall it is bound to see more disruptions. The question that the people have been asking for decades now is that for how long would these closures, and disruptions, happen on this road.
Are we fated to live in isolation, without any connect with the outside world for a good number of weeks, if not months, every year. The frequent closures up ahead, given the past experience, is a forgone conclusion. What one would have expected from the administration is that this lockdown could have been utilised to speed up the work on this road, and remove the bottlenecks. Since traffic remained off the roads for many weeks in the beginning, and then it was significantly less than what it usually is on this road, the construction work could have been speeded. Because unless the widening is complete and the defences raised at various places to disallow the landslides from blocking the road are optimally functional, nothing can stop the nightmarish traffic jams, and prolonged closures on this road. Besides, the work on tunnels should also become a focus. Among many other things in the matters of governance that have troubled the people of J&K, one that is at the top is the delay in meeting the deadlines on the construction projects on this highway. This has now been a disruption spread over many years. One can only hope that the journey on this road becomes a normal affair before long.