Govt failed to handle highway crisis, left thousands stranded: NC MPs

Expressing concern over the continuous closure of the Srinagar-Jammu highway National Conference (NC) Wednesday said that the government had failed in handling the highway crisis and left thousands of people stranded on either side of the highway.

A joint statement of NC Members of Parliament Muhammad Akbar Lone and Hasnain Masoodi issued here said that failing to come up with an alternative to ensure availability of all essential items to people in Kashmir, the government had left people to fend for themselves.

“The inordinate delay in the restoration of traffic on the Srinagar-Jammu highway has added to the woes of the people, who were already suffering due to the heavy snowfall and administration’s poor response,” Lone and Masoodi said in a joint statement. “The closure of the highway has triggered a crisis like situation in Kashmir and on the highway with stranded people finding it difficult to withstand bone chilling cold.”

They said that the government on its part had been incoherent with its statements on the resumption of the traffic adding to confusion and chaos.

“The unforeseen problems suffered by the stranded people on the highway are immense. The winter chill and unavailability of essentials have also aggravated their woes. The patients, elderly and kids are in particular undergoing predicament due to unavailability of any mechanism to airlift them to nearby hospitals. The entire lot has been left to their own fate.  Various vehicles carrying ailing and even deceased have also been left unattended. The SDRF teams, and local district administration is nowhere visible on the ground throughout the entire stretch,” the joint statement quoted the NC MPs as having said.

They said normally during such eventualities, the government used to have alternate air lift mechanism in place.

“This year, it seems that the administration had no contingency plan in its response to deal with such an eventuality. Let alone coming to the rescue of the stranded passengers, the government has failed to ensure basic items to the people in Kashmir including essential life saving drugs,” the NC MPs said in the statement. “Traditionally the administration airlifted such essentials to Kashmir in the wake of hindrances on the Srinagar-Jammu highway. There is still time for punitive measures. The administration should gear up its men and machinery and expedite the traffic restoration on the highway.”