National Conference decries civilian traffic restrictions on highway

National Conference vice-president Omar Abdullah Sunday said it was the “height of incompetence and laziness” that the Governor S P Malik-led administration required restriction on movement of civilian vehicles on the Srinagar-Jammu National Highway for the security of Amarnath pilgrims.

Abdullah, the former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir, said the governor’s administration was the only administration in 30 years that has required the closure of the highway.

“It’s not that we are unconcerned about yatri security, far from it. It’s that the administration of Governor Malik is the only administration in 30 years that has required the closure of the highway/railway line to protect yatris& that’s the height of incompetence & laziness,” he tweeted.

Abdullah was responding to Malik’s remarks that the people of Kashmir should bear such restrictions as it was a matter of security of pilgrims.

Reacting to the restriction, NC leaders HasnainMasoodi and Akbar Lone decried the restriction, saying that the “diktat” will put the public to undue duress.

“The diktat will hamper the economic activity of traders. The highway is no less than an artery, it is our life line. It is not just the economic activity that will suffer with the ban but patients too. How can they reach hospitals? How can students and working class move to and fro?” Masoodi, the MP from Anantnag, said.

Meanwhile, Lone, the MP from Baramulla, said the move will inadvertently hit the movement of civilian traffic on the highway.

“The sole National Highway connecting Srinagar with the rest of country already suffers from intermittent blockages due to the vagaries of weather. The diktat of putting restrictions on the vehicular movement if persists will put the public to undue duress. “The step is bound to hamper the easy movement of tourist inflow to Kashmir. Moreover, the diktat will affect the traders by spoiling Kashmir bound perishable items and vice versa,” Lone said.