In the wake of COVID-19 Pandemic, the Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir, Pandurang K Pole, Sunday chaired a meeting to review foolproof measures for smooth movement of essential commodities laden vehicles on the Srinagar-Leh National Highway, which has been opened for vehicular traffic after closure in winter months.
The meeting was informed that Youth Hostel premises at Sonamarg will be earmarked for health screening and other logistic arrangements besides continuing the process of fumigation of trucks and complex. Due to the sub-zero temperature, trucks will be allowed to move to Leh UT, from 10 am onwards and each truck will carry only eleven tones of load on the Srinagar-Leh National Highway, because of hilly, slippery terrain and weather vagaries.
The Divisional Commissioner directed the concerned to ensure that health check-up of all drivers and their helpers is conducted immediately after their trucks reach Sonamarg point and issue colour-coded passes to them depicting the name of the driver, vehicle, registration & mobile numbers which should be pasted on wind-shield of each truck.
He further said that only driver and one helper will be allowed in a single truck for movement to the Leh UT and during such movement, Social Distancing should be maintained in letter and spirit besides doctors, police and other concerned officials should wear personal protection gears.
On return from Leh UT, again health check-up of drivers and helpers will be conducted at Sonamarg besides indentifying the persons mentioned in the passes. He added that if any commuter violates the norms, he will be dealt with strictly as per relevant laws.
It was informed that the SSP Traffic (Rural) will be the final authority to allow the traffic on the Highway from Sonamarg point, after monitoring the current situation and climatic conditions. He will ensure that there no congestion of traffic on the highway besides deploying officers at every major point.
Div Com stressed for keeping vigil on traffic movement to avoid accidents on the road and asked the concerned to deploy a Recovery-Crane at Sonamarg point, to be used in emergency situation.
He also directed BEACON authorities to repair the stretches of the road which were damaged due to rains and snow during winter so that traffic plies smoothly.
To improve mobile connectivity on the Srinagar-National Highway, Pole also issued instructions to BSNL and JIO mobile agencies to operationalize the Ranga Mode and Baltal towers immediately so that commuters do not face any inconvenience during travel.
Deputy Commissioner Ganderbal, SSP Traffic (Rural) and Beacon officers were directed to conduct an extensive tour of the Sonamarg area, jointly to inspect ground preparations and submit the complete report to the Divisional Commissioner’s office for further course of action.
The Divisional Commissioner stressed the concerned to maintain inter-departmental coordination and make collective efforts for smooth movement of essential commodities vehicles on the Srinagar-Leh National Highway.
Inspector General of Police (Traffic), T Namgyal, Deputy Commissioner, Srinagar Dr Shahid Iqbal Choudhary, Deputy Commissioner, Ganderbal Shafqat Iqbal, Director BEACON (works), SSP Traffic (Rural), Assistant Commissioner (central), Aziz Ahmad Rather, Engineers of BEACON and other concerned officers were present in the meeting.