Spring is here, winter with all its vagaries and severity is over. Nonetheless, it has left behind a long trail of problems that call for immediate attention of the government.
It has taken toll of the state economy on more than one count. The frequent closure of the Srinagar- Jammu highway according to conservative estimates has cost Kashmir economy a loss of 3, 325 Crores, which is about 95 crores a day.
To prevent recurrence of such losses in future the government needs to attach priority to the completion of alternative all-weather highways.
The horticulture sector was severely hit by the early snowfalls, in many fruit belts thousand of fruit-bearing trees were heavily damaged. So far the government has not carried a loss assessment nor announced any compensation for the affected orchardists.
True to the public perception that roads in Kashmir have one snowfall-life, all streets in summer capital and other parts of Kashmir including highways have been damaged. Besides not adhering to norms and using sub-standard material in the construction of roads, these are also damaged by heavy vehicles, more so by overloaded vehicles.
There are laws in vogue for overloading, which do not only pertain to the total load of the vehicle but also consider load distribution.
It is an open secret that the traffic police has a vested interest in allowing over-loaded vehicles to ply on the highway connecting the two capitals of the state. Moreover, the stationing of traffic magistrates on the highway has also taken a backseat.
In spite of roads dotted with potholes and deep craters, causing a lot of inconvenience for the commuters, the Roads and Building organizations have not shown any interests for fixing the roads.
In fact, for over past one year, most of the development departments have almost gone into hibernation. Having almost brought development activity to a halt, it has chosen not to complete even the projects waiting for finishing touches.
It is time for the departments concerned with the maintenance of roads to come out of inertia and repair the damaged roads. Instead of sticking to costly and time-consuming methods of fixing roads, the government should adopt modern road repair technology and introduce high-tech pothole machines.