Directions by Chief Secretary Dr Arun Kumar Mehta to authorities for reducing the travel time for light motor vehicles on Srinagar-Jammu National Highway under seven hours is significant.
Hopefully, the directions are followed in letter and spirit by the concerned authorities. Hostile weather and bad road conditions at several stretches make the travel on this highway very problematic sometimes.
Shooting stones and landslides keep on blocking the road and disrupting the vehicular traffic movement.
At times, not upto the mark traffic management leads to jamming on the highway and lot of time is wasted. Chief Secretary gave directions in this connection also.
Undoubtedly the increasing traffic rush every day is a challenge for the authorities and other officials on the ground. The challenges are effectively met by following the directions and strategy chalked out and with better coordination on the ground.
Since the Srinagar-Jammu National Highway is the only all weather road link between Kashmir and rest of the country, all efforts should be made to keep it in a good condition.
Timely proper maintenance of the damaged road surface due to weather vagaries is essential and so is the routine maintenance wherever and whenever required.
Equally important is proper traffic management. Those driving on the highway have to strictly follow the traffic rules and avoid indulging into violations, which lead to accidents, jamming, and other problems.
Since winter is nearing its end, in autumn and summer the flow of traffic will gradually increase. The arrival of tourists from different states is expected to gain momentum in a big way like last year.
Then comes the season of exporting fruit produced here to markets outside Jammu and Kashmir. This year the authorities must plan things so that there is no problem on that front.
The fruit should reach to markets in time and the growers and traders must not face any difficulties. Opening of the T5 tunnel on Panthiyal stretch of the highway by March 15, Jaiswal Bridge by March 31, and double-lane of Ramban Flyover and Banihal Bypass by April 15, will further help in smooth flow of the traffic.
The pace of the ongoing works has to be accelerated to meet the deadlines. Directions regarding making all the wayside amenities, like washrooms, functional throughout the stretch of the highway are also positive.
Travellers are facing inconvenience in absence of these amenities. After coming up of the wayside amenities, such problems will get solved.