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A choked lifeline

Closure of highway for 7 months in 5 years a cause of concern
12:00 AM Mar 21, 2024 IST | GK EDITORIAL DESK
a choked lifeline
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The Srinagar - Jammu National Highway has remained closed for nearly seven months at different times in last five years due to frequent landslides, snow, and other obstructions, a report said. The closure of the highway for such a long time period is a matter of concern since it is the only all- weather road connecting Kashmir with rest of the country.

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The frequent closure of the highway disrupts the movement of essential supplies to Kashmir and causes lot of problems to the people. The road blockade also hits the economy. Necessary measures must be taken to minimise the road closure.

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Besides making the condition of Srinagar- Jammu National Highway better, there is also an immediate need to make the Mughal Road an all weather road.

This is also important since the Srinagar-Jammu National Highway remains blocked frequently in winter.

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Some months back the central government announced construction of tunnels on the Mughal Road to make it an all weather road. It is being hoped that the project is taken up and completed at the earliest. So far as Srinagar - Jammu National Highway is concerned, more steps are needed for its improvement.

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Weather conditions like snow and rains are not in one's control, but efforts should be made to reduce the impact of the rough weather conditions on the highway. Landslides and shooting stones occur on some stretches of the highway disrupting the vehicular traffic movement.

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There is no doubt that those involved with maintenance of the highway are doing a commendable job in view of the challenges they face,particularly during the winter months. But there is a need for further improvement.

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All the possible steps have to be taken to minimise the closure period as much as possible. If the highway continues to remain blocked like this in future, then it can have more negative results. This highway is a lifeline for Kashmir and must be treated that way. Undoubtedly there are challenges including the tough terrain.

These challenges have to be overcome wherever possible. It is also being hoped that the highway widening project gets completed within its fresh deadline of August 2025. Started in 2011, the four laning project was to get completed within five years.

But this did not happen and it is still incomplete . The project must be completed now. After the completion of the project the distance between Srinagar and Jammu will get reduced by 50 kms and travel time by half.

More importantly several treacherous points prone to landslides and other obstructions will get bypassed.

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