The hunger strike by the locals and the members of the ‘Sadhna Tunnel Coordination Committee’ (STCC) at mini secretariat Tangdhar, entered its third day Thursday, here, with the protestors demanding construction of a tunnel over Sadhna top.
According to the protestors, scores of lives over the years have been lost in various road accidents that happened due to absence of a tunnel.
“Had a tunnel been constructed at the Sadhna top, these accidents could have been prevented and the region could have been made accessible to the rest of the world round the year,” they said.
“The lackadaisical approach of the government authorities over this grave issue has forced us to go for this hunger strike,” said chairman STCC Wali Mohammad.
He said despite their hunger strike, no top state official has visited them. “On the third day of our strike, it is the Commanding Officer Beacon Kupwara who visited here. His visit has given us some hope.”
However, the chairman STCC threatened they will hit the roads in the case the government does not start the construction of the tunnel.
A protester said: “I have lost my family members in an accident. Why government is taking so long to construct the tunnel?”
“The road to this region is very dangerous. When it snows or rains, it becomes even more risky to travel on this road. A tunnel is the solution to avoid the deaths on this road,” said Rasheed Ahmad who has lost his brother in a road accident.
He said the “callous” approach of the authorities forced them to go on the hunger strike in Tangdhar.
It may be mentioned that the residents of Karnah are demanding the tunnel for decades together as the only road connecting Keran with Kupwara remains closed during winters as most of the time it remains under snow.
“Political leaders have been protesting from time to time for construction of the tunnel. This year many people of Karnah died at Kupwara, the residents kept on waiting for weeks to get their bodies for last rites,” said Reyaz Ahmad of Karnah.