Editorial | A Killer Road

As the world is confronted with this corona pandemic, we in Kashmir have other sources of death ever operative to consume our lives. And this one is not about any thing we call as ‘situation’. It is something that we have been crying over all these years. This year too, when the winters started, and the announcements for the closure of the road were made, this newspaper raised the issue umpteenth times. But it always falls on deaf ears. This Srinagar-Jammu highway has become a killer way. How many families have lost their bread-earners. How many families lost multiple members. And in many cases we have entire families wiped out. This is a regular feature of this road, and we are now used to losing life after life, and getting the news about ruined families, one after another.  Is there an end to it? When would we have a road that is like any other road, and travelling is normal on it. We do accept that driving a car has its own risks involved. After all accidents consume lives on all roads.

But in this case accidents have a pattern. The loss of life is because there are some patches that have become death traps. For decades now we have heard the names of the areas where landslides happen, road subsides, and snow avalanches  hit the vehicles. It is like this ever since the road is there. It has now been decades. The technologies involved in road building elsewhere in the world has seen huge development in terms of machinery, material, and scientific techniques. But in this case things have not moved as one could have expected them to move. The recent projects that are underway were expected to make things easier and swifter, but that too doesn’t seem to be happening. The projects have missed deadline after deadline, and the way this road has become vulnerable to landslides at many spots, reportedly because of these projects, is an added worry. This apart, there is a thing called management. On this count the concerned agencies have many questions to answer. One last thing. There has been a consistent demand from the people of all the regions in J&K to build alternate road connections joining various regions of J&K. When will that become a reality?

Meanwhile we have lost some more lives on this road!