The truck drivers and conductors as well as passengers stranded on Jammu-Srinagar highway from past three days near Qazigund Tuesday alleged that the attitude of administration was callous towards their apathy while according to them the Disaster Management Centre Store-Keepers authorized to distribute eatables among stranded passengers sell the commodities to shopkeepers in black forcing them to buy the same at higher rates.
At least 400 vehicles mostly trucks are stranded on Jammu-Srinagar highway as the road remained closed for the third consecutive day due to moderate snowfall. The authorities had reportedly established Disaster Management Centres at various points whose sole objective has been to help stranded people in time of need and calamity. “The Store-Keeper at the Centre refuses to supply us eatables and other items on the pretext that he has not received any such order from the authorities. We have seen how these store-keepers of Disaster Management Centre sell the eatables and other items to shopkeepers in black and the same shopkeepers charge heavy prices from us for those same commodities,” Inderjit Singh, a truck driver from Punjab told CNS.
The stranded people informed that shopkeepers in the area have been exploiting the situation and are looting them. “Not a single official from administration visited the spot so far,” said another driver.
A store-keeper Farooq Ahmed said that he is not authorized to distribute commodities among stranded people. “I can’t do this as I have not received such communiqué from the authorities,” he said.
Meanwhile, due to the alleged negligence of the administration and inaction on part of RAMKY officials, the vehicular movement from Vessu to Qazigund in South Kashmir came to halt as not a single snow-clearance machine was put in operation till afternoon. “All the passengers alighted from their vehicles and preferred to reach their destinations by foot. Road was filled with snow as no machine was used to clear the snow,” said a government employee.
“The snow was cleared at 2 in the afternoon and only after that vehicles started plying on the road,” a shopkeeper said.