Srinagar, September 5: The dilapidated condition of roads in Jammu and Kashmir, including Srinagar-Jammu national highway, is giving tough time to the commuters.
Rain and snow last winter worsened the condition of roads in J&K, particularly in the Valley. Potholes and bumpy roads are giving a hard time to people and it seems the government is least concerned. Due to the extremely bad condition of the roads in J&K, the number of road accidents are also on rise.
The worst condition of roads has made travel miserable and patients being ferried for treatment are the worst victims of this mess. Apart from other trouble, the wear and tear of vehicles has unduly gone up as the suspensions get damaged and also the tyres which burdens the pockets of common man.
The ambitious Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) scheme of Central government seems to be a noticeable failure in Jammu and Kashmir as the funds paucity has halted the repair of roads under the schemes in several parts of the region.
The reduced funding to the PMGSY scheme since 2015 has begun to tell on the road condition. The situation is pressing as 70 percent of PMGSY roads are now out of the defect liability period (DLP) that requires the contractor to maintain and repair roads for five years after construction. It is estimated that only 14% of the roads have been re-laid so far.
About 40% of the roads under PMGSY have also completed 10 years of their design life, requiring repair and renewal. But as the funds for the scheme have dried up, the repair work has been halted.
Similarly, important roads sanctioned under Central Road Fund (CRF) have been left incomplete due to lack of proper funding. The bad roads have further damaged Kashmir’s economy.
The 270-km Srinagar-Jammu national highway continues to remain a nightmare and a death trap for the commuters due to the pathetic condition of the only all-weather road linking Kashmir with the rest of the country.
The highway remains shut for days due to landslides, soil-erosion and other weather related occurrences, not only in winter but this time in summer as well. Even if the road is officially open, it’s dilapidated condition, bottlenecks, shooting of stones at places and heavy traffic movement cause frequent and often severe gridlocks. Both passenger and goods vehicles remain stranded along the highway for days.
The slow pace of the work along the strategic highway, especially in the most slide prone Ramban-Banihal sector, has exasperated commuters over the past nine years. The need of the hour calls for having a holistic view on the up-gradation and maintenance of the highway which could help save many precious lives. The issue must be examined at the highest level urgently and responsibility fixed so that corrective measures can be taken.