Come winter, the problems of the people of Gurez valley in north Kashmir get compounded due to absence of an all-weather surface connectivity with rest of the country.
The people of Gurez Valley believe that a tunnel, which they have been demanding since a long time, would help the region remain connected round the year and ease their problems.
The Razdan Top which is the gateway to the valley at the elevation of 12000 feet becomes impassable every time it receives snow. Last week when the Valley received season’s first snowfall, Razdan Top came under two feet deep snow.
“It (snowing) is always a sad occasion for us as it cuts us off from rest of the country,” Abdul Raheem, Sarpanch said over phone. “It is like living in a jail”, he said.
Ghulam Nabi, a villager said: “The situation gets worse in hilly villages. People there can’t move out for the fear of avalanches.”
The Sarpanch said: “There have been many deaths in the past and it continues as the critical patients, especially the expecting mothers did not receive timely treatment due to road closure during winters.”
He said the hospital here is a mess without staff almost for 12 months. “Despite making pleas to the authorities including the Deputy Commissioner, nothing has been done,” he added. An official wishing anonymity also accepted the shortage of doctors in Gurez.
Raheem was also sceptical about facilities in underground bunkers to keep them warm during winters amid LoC flare up.
The Gurez residents said that all they required was a tunnel to ease their difficulties. “Even as a proposal has been moved to the ministry concerned at the centre, nothing till date has been done,” they said.
“We want to remain connected to the rest of Jammu and Kashmir and spend normal lives,” Raheem said.
The proposed Gurez-Bandipora tunnel project whose feasibility study cum DPR was approved in June 2015 by Border Roads Organization at an estimated cost of Rs 7802.42 crore is pending for approval from the central government.
Sub divisional magistrate, Mudasir Ahmad told the Greater Kashmir that they have dumped food and supplies and the DG set fuel, which will suffice till May while medicines have also been stocked up in the Gurez Valley.
“The trial landing of choppers was also conducted a week ago on new helipads constructed this year at Dawar, Kanzalwan, Neeru and Baduaab,” he said.
The SDM said that the HLD for Mechanical department and BEACON for snow clearance was also dumped till May.