Like in many parts of the state, skies have cleared over Chenab valley. But the frequent landslides at vulnerable locations on the existing road stretch continue to derail surface communication in the region.
As per reports, around 1300 houses have suffered heavy to minor damage in Doda, while in Kishtwar, nearly 300 houses have damaged due to landslides triggered by bad weather.
“Not even a single house is safe to live in,” the reports say.
Several villages are badly hit, but villages like Kuriya, Kwar, Maliknar, Patimhala, Angara Sarthal are worst hit due to continuous landslides. Villagers shifted from these villagers say they don’t even have tents to live in.
Amid these piling up miseries, Batote-Kishtwar highway continues to play spoilsport. Locals say it opens for a while and gets blocked again due to fresh landslides.
Landslides, sinking away of road and shooting stones along the stretch have turned it to be a “death trap”.
Passengers travel by staking their precious lives but government seems to be in slumber, locals say. All the link roads in and around Kishtwar are blocked for the last more than a week.
In the face of these hardships, demand for alternate route via Sudhmahadev-Marmat is resounding in Chenab Valley. Locals say construction of this road stretch is mandatory as closure of Batote-Kishtwar road has become a routine matter.
Besides, locals demand work on prestigious Singhpora-Vailoo tunnel be started at the earliest.
Once constructed, the tunnel would also ensure shortest possible alternate link to Kashmir valley thereby relieving off the pressure on main highway. It is believed to help in overall economic upliftment of the locals here.
Meanwhile, the closure of the existing fair-weather road has triggered acute shortage of LPG, petrol, diesel, kerosene oil, pulses, vegetables and essential commodities in Kishtwar and other areas of Chenab Valley, causing great inconvenience to the locals.
“Students are the worst sufferers,” says Dawood Bashir Youth Congress leader, “careers of hundreds of students plunged into dark because they weren’t able to reach the JEE exam centres due to continuous closure of highway.”
Dawood says, authorities have failed in reaching out to the hapless at this hour of need.
“Government should take some concrete step in order to ensure their safety,” he says.