Govt mulling all-weather road connectivity for Kashmir
To reduce the burden on Srinagar-Jammu highway, which often remains closed due to inclement weather, the government is exploring to make Mughal Road and Kishtwar-Simthan route all weather roads.
A meeting in this regard was held under the chairmanship of Divisional Commissioner Kashmir, Baseer Khan.
As per the minutes of the meeting, the possibility of using Kishtwar-Simthan route and Mughal Road would be explored for at least return of trucks and tankers coming into the Valley.
The move would make sure less movement of vehicles on Srinagar-Jammu highway after February end.
The government is also exploring the possibility of tunneling both the Mughal Road as well as Kashmir-Simthan route in order to make both the roads all weather roads.
The Srinagar-Jammu highway, the only link road connecting Kashmir with the rest of the world, often gets blocked during the winters and puts commuters to extreme hardships.
A portion of the highway often gets swept away and the road witnesses shooting stones and landslides at many places.
The minutes of the meeting also read that the road from Banihal to Ramban needs to be stablised and the four-laning needs to be completed as soon as possible.
Rising Kashmir carried a series of stories on the dilapidated condition of Srinagar-Jammu highway.
As per the official sources, the much-hyped four-laning of 265 kilometre Srinagar-Jammu highway, which is already running behind the schedule, is unlikely to be completed anytime soon.
Official sources said the construction of new Banihal-Qazigund tunnel was unlikely to be completed this year.
The project was started in 2011 to avoid frequent closure of the Jawahar Tunnel.
However, major part of the project is yet to take off.
In 2011, National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) commissioned the construction of two tunnels – Chenani-Nashri and Qazigund-Banihal – to reduce the travel and make the highway motorable for all seasons.
The Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir in the meeting directed that the concerned authorities to strictly ensure completing the Banihal tunnel within the timeframe given by them.
“In short term measures, Chief Engineer Border Road Organisation (Project Beacon) shall personally visit both the sides of Banihal tunnel along with SSP Rural Kashmir and Jammu to chalk out what immediate measures could be taken by the agency to ensure more stability of the road,” it reads.
Similarly, the BRO (Beacon) Navyug, Ramkay would have repair works done on both sides of the highway on a war footing in order to ensure smooth movement of transport as and when weather permits.
“Besides, the agency should apply relevant chemicals on the frozen patches of the Srinagar-Jammu highway in order to avoid slippery conditions and also press into services machinery for immediate response,” the minutes of the meeting read.