Govt relaxes highway restrictions

The state government on Tuesday further relaxed restrictions on the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway by partially lifting the ban on the movement of civilian vehicles between Srinagar-Udhampur stretch.

“The restrictions on civilian traffic in the Srinagar-Udhampur section of the National Highway-44 will be lifted on Wednesdays with effect from May 13,” an official statement said.  “The prohibition on civilian traffic in this stretch would now be only on Sunday(s).”

The authorities had earlier relaxed the ban on the Srinagar-Baramulla stretch.

“The Government has been reviewing the restrictions imposed earlier this month on civilian movement on the National Highway (NH-44) connecting Jammu to Srinagar with a view to balancing the security needs of Forces’ Convoys with the need for minimizing public inconvenience. These restrictions became necessary following the large movement of security forces on an unprecedented scale after the Pulwama attack,” the statement added. 

“These forces were required both for anti-militancy operations and for conducting general elections peacefully. In order to facilitate secure movement of Security Forces’ Convoys, the Government had imposed a prohibition on civilian traffic on NH-44 from Baramulla to Udhampur twice a week, i.e. on Sunday & Wednesday, from 4.00 am to 5.00 pm. Elaborate arrangements were, however, made by the local administration to facilitate movement of public during the period of restriction,” it said. “Earlier, the restriction on civilian movement between Srinagar and Baramulla on NH-44 was reduced only to Sunday w.e.f. 22 April and later completely lifted from May 2.”

“The Government is alive to the needs of citizens and has once again reviewed the requirement of security forces. Following the completion of elections in Pulwama & Shopian districts and as the requirement of security forces is now reducing, the Government has decided to further relax the restrictions,” the statement said.

“The local administration would continue to facilitate movement of civilian traffic on Sundays as has been happening so far, including by allowing public transport of JKSRTC to move during the period of restriction on the NH. A complete review of remaining restrictions on the highway would be done subsequently,” it said. “The purpose of these restrictions is in the larger interest of security of everyone. The government urges people to extend full cooperation in the smooth regulation of traffic. The restrictions strike a balance between the needs of people and inconvenience caused to them on one side and the needs of security forces. The restrictions will continue to be reviewed on a real time basis and modifications will be made as necessary in the coming days,” the statement added.