Stating that the ban on civilian movement on the highway across Kashmir on Wednesdays and Sundays was inhuman, the Kashmir Economic Alliance (KEA) Chairman Haji Muhammad Yasin Khan said life would be impossible on the two days and will affect each and every individual.
Khan, who also heads the (KTMF) Kashmir Traders and Manufacturers Federation in a press statement said that given the fact that Kashmir doesn’t have any alternative routes other than the highway which is the lifeline from Banihal to Kupwara, a ban on civilian movement on this only route would bring normal life to grinding halt.
“How will the patients reach hospitals? How will students reach their respective educational institutions? How will the office goers reach their offices? And how will business go on?”, the spokesman quoted Khan as saying. He also said that the ban has been imposed without proper groundwork.
Khan said such a ban on the start of tourist season can only again doom the prospects of any revival of tourism season this year. “Will we ask our tourists to be confined indoors on the ban days,” Khan asked.
He said among other trades, the horticulture would be worst hit. “Horticulture is the backbone of our economy, ban on the highway will only leave this business sector rotting,” he said.
Khan said the people have a fundamental right to road access and it cannot be curbed in the garb of security reasons. “Why doesn’t the government explore the possibility of dedicated rail service for troops from Banihal to Kupwara,” he said.
The chairman appealed Governor Satya Pal Malik to personally look into the matter as such inhuman decisions can only alienate the people further. “The government must look into the matter and reconsider its decision on priority because public movement on roads was even not curbed in the 1990s,” he said.