SRINAGAR: Apni Party president Syed Mohammad Altaf Bukhari on Saturday demanded the immediate opening of Kishtwar-Sinthan and Mughal road for passenger vehicular traffic in order to mitigate the sufferings of people living in Chenab Valley and Pir Panjal region.
In a statement issued here, Bukhari observed that at a time when the COVID-19 lockdown restrictions have been eased out across the country, the people of hilly districts of Chenab Valley and Pir Panjal region in J&K have been subjected to further miseries by closing their vital roads which connect them with the summer capital Srinagar.
“Businessmen, traders, shopkeepers and nomadic families are not being allowed to travel on these roads. Sinthan road provides an alternate route to the people of the entire Jammu province to reach Srinagar without facing the frequent emergency situations on Srinagar-Jammu National Highway. One fails to understand under which laws and COVID-19 guidelines, the travel on this vital road has been barred by the district administration?” Bukhari asked.
The Apni Party president urged the Lt., Governor Manoj Sinha, to take a thorough review of the circumstances for which Sinthan and Mughal road connectivity links have been closed and order the necessary instructions in this regard.
He also invited his attention towards pending construction on a union government approved tunnel connecting Singhtur and Vailoo on Sinthan road which is yet to be started. “This tunnel will not only reduce the distance significantly but it can make this road a dependable and an all-weather route for the whole of the Jammu province to reach Kashmir,” he remarked.
Bukhari said the closure of Sinthan road has deprived a huge population of Jammu province of benefits of this alternative route besides reducing the tourism potential in the area. People facing health emergencies in Marwah, Wadwan, Dachan and Kishtwar suffer immensely and cannot reach SKIMS Soura for tertiary healthcare services,” he added.
Similarly, Bukhari said, the inhabitants of Rajouri and Poonch districts are craving for the opening of historic Mughal road for passenger vehicular traffic so that they reach Srinagar in a hassle-free manner. “If the administration is apprehensive about the spread of COVID due to travel on these roads, it should set up the random testing facility centers for the passengers on either side of these sub-regional connecting links and strictly enforce other social distancing norms as well,” Bukhari pleaded.
Voicing his concern over the suffering of patients from districts of Pir Panjal region who are unable to tertiary healthcare services in Srinagar, Bukhari said these patients are being forced to travel over 600 kilometres via Jammu to reach super speciality hospitals in Srinagar.
Bukhari said that there are only a few months left when these roads will be closed in the winter for months together. “Till then there is no justification for the administration to keep these roads closed for the public,” he added.