Kashmir's Jugular Vein!

Kashmir's Jugular Vein!

It is almost a week now since the Kashmir’s only surface access to the valley the National Highway NH-1A is closed due to continuous landslides. In spite of the best efforts by the Border Roads Organization it has not been possible to keep the road open all the time during winter, especially when there are heavy rains and snow. The worst stretch of the road is between Ramban and Ramsu where the road has been made by cutting mountain sides consisting of scree and mud which keep on sliding. This portion of the road is totally unstable, most of the time sinking in spite of heavy bulldozing and blasting. This road being the supply line to the valley virtually amounts to its jugular vein. The all-time all weather road had been the Jhelum Valley road which never closes. This was valley’s main link with the outside world till 1947 when the Indo-Pak war closed it down. In this regard one can only tangentially talk about the cross LOC trade system that could be worked out for getting supplies to the valley. As regards the present road, the NH-1A, some serious and practical solution has to be found. The ideal would be to have a series of small tunnels on the other side between Ramban and Banihal. In the alternative, the Chinese technology, where they use steel pylons resting on the river bed to carry the entire length of the road could be adopted. The Chinese have done it in Pakistan on the Karakoram Highway. Even the Chinese could be asked to help as part of the various corridors they are building in different countries, as part of their Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). The Chinese government calls the initiative "a bid to enhance regional connectivity and embrace a brighter future". In the meantime, there is urgent need to airlift thousands of people stranded in Jammu due to the closure of the road. Such initiatives have been taken in the past many times to relieve peoples’ suffering. The sooner it is done the better it would be!