National Highway a death trap as govt looks other way: PDP

Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Friday expressed concern over the frequent fatal road accidents on Jammu- Srinagar highway, terming the 294 km road stretch ‘nothing less than a death trap.’

In a statement issued here, senior PDP leader and former R&B Minister Naeem Akhtar said that the present dispensation in Jammu and Kashmir as well as the central government have miserably failed in performing their duties due to which scores of people are being killed and the highway continues to remain a death trap for the passengers.

The PDP leader added that  the connectivity to Kashmir has unfortunately been reduced to minimum requirement of keeping supplies for security forces only and that civilian traffic, safety of passengers and every thing else has gone haywire.

He added that the upgradation of national highway doesn’t make any sense unless the portion between Ramban and Banihal is fully tunnelled.  “This will be an exercise in futility because it will always remain a fair whether road.  Fair weather is not only now restricted to the days when it snows and rains during winters- it is spreading now all over the year as the mountains have got  further destabilised because of blasting and construction.

Akhtar said that there are modern solutions to it which the previous government had projected to the central government and  but the PDP led government at that time was informed that the project report in this is being reviewed and reworked. However, said Akhtar,  the Governor administration failed to follow it up and with the result Kashmir is destined, perhaps, not to have a all -weather road  and a decent highway that could connect the land locked region with the rest of the world. “The importance of this issue is lost  as  the government is turning its eyes away from it without any compunction. The sense of siege both at internal as well as at the external level  in Kashmir gets strengthened through indifference of the government,” said Akhtar.

He added that it is ironic to find the Jawahar Tunnel on Srinagar Jammu highway in shambles even when claims of large scale development in the state have become rampant.  According to the PDP leader, even after 72 years after the state acceded to the Union, people still wait for the all weather road. 

The former minister said that the PDP government had with the central government discussed in detail the need of tunnelling between Ramban  and Banihal section so that vehicular movement on the highway remains uninterrupted and smooth even during  the inclement weather.  “Though the proposal was agreed by the central government but  the present administration has failed to follow it up,” said Akhtar.