Editorial|Only Connect

Imagine making it to Doda in just a few hours, starting from Srinagar. And if you are anywhere in the southern part of Kashmir, say Dooru Anantnag, you can make it to the destination in just an hour.

No, it is not about any new airport coming up in Kashmir that would have planes flying from Kashmir to Doda. Not at all. It is about a surface connect – a road – running from the southern part of Kashmir to Doda; and it brings the place closer to Kashmir – just 45 kilo-meters, via Dooru in Anantnag district. But these 40 odd minutes have stretched to 40 long years and the place remains as far away today as it was decades before.

If you start from Kashmir it is a full day journey, and that too if nothing goes wrong on the road, say a traffic jam, or a landslide. The report in GK about how the construction of the Doda-Dessa-Kapran road is still a far fetched dream reflects the pathetic state of affairs in this regard.

At a time when we have seen how the lone road connection, Srinagar-Jammu Highway, remained mostly closed in the last couple of months, such alternative road links could have carried much oxygen to the valley, in terms of commerce and movement of people.

The people living in Jammu & Kashmir have been crying for such alternative road links but it all falls on deaf ears. It is not the delay of a month or a year.

One could have understood the tardy pace of development projects in Kashmir, given the situation and in built problems in the structure of governance, but it is shocking that the things are there for decades. This proposal, Doda-Dessa-Kapran road, was mooted in 1977 when J&K was headed by Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah-led National Conference.

Calculate the time and try to understand the mathematics of Kashmir’s governance. It defeats even the masters of sub-atomic calculations. In this situation one can only wish that some serious initiative is taken up to dust off the old files and give the people of the state an opportunity to connect.