Messy Roads

In last few years travelling to Srinagar from any part of the valley has become one hell of a hectic affair. Reason. Massive traffic jams on city roads that come to haunt commuters like nightmares. With no major intervention in development of roads in Kashmir’s summer capital in last two decades, and the huge surge of vehicle in that time period, made things worse for people travelling on the city roads. The existing road network in Srinagar city that houses some of the major businesses addresses are over crowed for lack of parking space.

Srinagar being major business hub caters to almost entire valley, and is flooded by people coming to buy stocks for their shops located in the peripheral areas. Such kind of business activity adds to the rush of vehicles in the city. Apart from business visits, Srinagar also caters to people who come here for study purpose as most of the higher education institutions are located here.

Then there are people who visit Srinagar to seek medical help in hospitals located in and around city centre. Due to lack of proper healthcare facilities in other parts of the valley, number of such people, or patients, or their attendants have only gone up over the years. And on top of all that there are only a few traffic cops, one can count the number of such cops on his fingertips, to man the rush of vehicles entering Srinagar.

Since last two decades successive governments have vowed to clean this mess and make Srinagar city a visitor friendly capital. But no visible change has ever occurred on the ground. In last twenty years only one fly-over was constructed in the city, that too a narrow lane structure that ends up adding to the mess rather than decongesting it.

If one compares Kashmir’s twin capitals: Srinagar and Jammu, and the disparity in the infrastructure development in these regions, it offers stark contrasts.

While over the years Jammu has managed to decongest its major roads by means of constructing new flyover and widening of existing ones, Srinagar is still not getting things out of the planning stage.

There were a number of ideations and half-hearted attempts that successive governments wanted to implement, but due to lack of political will and funds, they never kicked off.

Any attempt to think big or think out-of-the box is met with resistance from within the political ranks as vote bank politics overshadows genuine efforts.

It has been almost a decade since Srinagar-Gulmarg road was taken up for widening. Being one of the most visited tourist spots in Kashmir, and a major source of economy for people related with the tourism sector, journey to Gulmarg turns out to be a lifetime nightmare for visitors.

With new government in command there was visible hope in people that things will change after all. But the way this new government has reacted so far to people’s demands has put a big question mark at its will to work. The road from Qazigund to Srinagar is case in point. It continues to haunt commuters. Hope the mess is cleared soon so that people can breathe freely on the roads.

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