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Normal life was affected in Karnah area of Kupwara district on Tuesday in the wake of strike call given by Sadna Tunnel Coordination Committee. All the business establishments and educational institutions remained closed, while transport was off the roads in Tangdar, Teetwal and other areas of Karnah.

The residents assembled in main Tangdar town of Karnah and demanded construction of tunnel at high altitude Sadhna top which is prone to avalanches.

On Jan 5, ten people were killed when an avalanche swept away a cab they were travelling in. Every winter snow avalanches around Sadna pass hit passenger vehicles and pedestrians, resulting in scores of deaths.

The residents said the only alternative to avoid frequent accidents and loss of human lives on the deadly road is the construction of a tunnel.

The 80 Km long Kupwara-Tangdhar road receives more than 12 to 15 feet of snow every winter which frequently cuts off Karnah from the district headquarters Kupwara and other parts of Kashmir.

After the civilian deaths in January due to the avalanche at Sadna top, the demands for construction of tunnel had got shriller, with locals demanding that only the tunnel can prevent road accidents. There’ve been many sit-ins and protests held by local residents to pressurise the state and centre governments to start work on the tunnel.

Residents of Tangdhar and Teetwal towns say that they’ve been demanding construction of a tunnel near high-altitude Sadhna Pass on Kupwara-Tangdhar road for a long time as the height of Sadna pass, over which Chowkibal-Tangdhar road passes, is prone to accidents and snow avalanches. “Places like Sadhna Pass, Zarla curve, Khooni Nallah, Dub, Dhana and Neelam curve are very dangerous and construction of a concrete tunnel near Sadhna Pass on the pattern of the Banihal or Nasri tunnel would easily negotiate the dangerous height of Sadhna top. It is necessary to curb the rising number of mishaps and it’ll keep the road open for traffic throughout the year,” the locals demanded.

Moreover, in the wake of snowfall during winters, the road that goes through Sadhna top remains frequently blocked which adds to the woes of people. The frequent road blockades cause immense hardships to the inhabitants and adversely affect their economy.

A delegation of parliament members and legislators led by Parliament member Muzaffar Hussain Beig is currently in New Delhi and scheduled to meet Home Minister, External Affairs minister and transport minister to persuade them to initiate the construction of tunnel.

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