In his first public meeting as chief minister in Pir Panjal, Mufti Muhammad Sayeed Tuesday said ‘all-weather’ Mughal Road is answer to fair-weather Srinagar-Jammu Highway. A day after, Mufti requested Centre to declare Mughal Road as alternate highway. With Mufti’s dispensation rallying behind the new route, Bilal Bahadur offers some shots of the road that is believed to end Kashmir’s long history of single route dependence, but will essentially require a crucial tunnel
Chief Minister Mufti Muhammad Sayeed Tuesday said that since the four-lanning of the Jammu-Srinagar Highway will take some time, his Govt will immediately develop and use Mughal Road as an alternate highway.
A day after, Mufti requested Centre to declare Mughal Road as an alternate Highway. He said post-September floods, when the Srinagar-Jammu Highway broke down, the strategic Mughal Road proved to be the lifeline for supplies to Kashmir valley.
Mughal Road is the road between Bafliaz (Poonch) to Kashmir’s Shopian district. This 84km road stretch passes over Pir Panjal Mountain range.
The road brings the Poonch and Rajouri district closer to Srinagar by reducing distance from 588km to 126km. It makes for alternate road route to Valley, other than over-crowded Jammu-Srinagar Highway through Jawahar Tunnel (Banihal Tunnel) (National Highway 1A).
The road was historically used by Mughal emperors to travel and conquer Kashmir during the sixteenth century. It was the route used by legendary Akbar to conquer Kashmir in 1586, and his son Emperor Jahangir died while returning from Kashmir on this road near Rajouri.
The new road was proposed in the 1950s, with the intention of improving the economy of the valley of Kashmir. Then Chief Minister Sheikh Abdullah had taken up this project in 1979 and named it “Mughal Road”, but it came to halt as militancy took over.
The construction of the prestigious project was started in October 2005 with a target of completion in March 2007 with an estimated cost of INR 255 crores. The road cuts through Hirpora Wildlife Sanctuary.