Highway Issue | No ban on civilian movement: Div Com

Maintaining that there is no ban on movement of civilian traffic on Srinagar-Jammu National Highway, the J&K government on Wednesday said only regulations are in place at some places to ensure smooth movement of traffic.

Addressing a news conference here, Divisional Commissioner Kashmir Baseer Ahmad Khan, said there is no blanket ban on movement of civilian traffic on the highway.

“Some quarters have expressed concern over the matter. I want to clarify that there is no ban on movement of civilian traffic but regulations are in place,” he said.

Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik had on Sunday said people should bear with highway restrictions.

“People know what has happened on this highway. There are just two hours of restrictions. This much (people) should bear,” he had said during his visit to the transit camp at Pantha Chowk to review the facilities made available for Amarnath pilgrims.

Khan, who was flanked by Inspector General of Police-Kashmir-SP Pani, said traffic movement is being regulated during Amarnath Yatra due to multiple constraints.

“You yourself know condition of the highway. The road on other side of the tunnel is very narrow. Five people were injured due to shooting stones yesterday,” he said, adding that regulations are in place to avoid traffic blockades.

The Divisional Commissioner said restrictions are being imposed for a very brief and specific period to ensure smooth flow of civilian traffic movement and yatra convoys.

“It is not a blanket ban. The restrictions are lifted from an area as soon as yatra convoy passes through it,” he said, adding that even during restriction period, they are facilitating movement of civilians on case-to-case basis.

“We have deployed Magistrates and police officers along the highway to facilitate movement of people during regulation period,” he added.

Echoing Khan, the IGP Pani said regulations are in place due to condition of the road and security environment. “The capacity of the road for volume of traffic on other side of the Jawahar tunnel is not same as that of this side of the tunnel. If traffic movement is left unregulated it will cause congestion. So time slots have been worked out to ensure smooth movement of all types of traffic,” he said.

The IGP said there is no restriction on local movement in Kashmir and people can go wherever they want.

To a question, the IGP said regulations were also in place during yatra period in the past two years but “there could be difference of timeline between the present and previous regulations,” he added.

The Amarnath Yatra began on July 1 and will end on August 15.