Outside City

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Last week when Mehbooba Mufti drove to Pampore’s transport yard to inaugurate housing complex meant for Durbar employees, the ride was quite smooth. The road leading to the main-gate of the housing complex was macadamized overnight to make CM’s journey hassle free. But what pained locals, who live at the end of the road, was the way patching was done only up to the gate, and not beyond it. Are comfort of good roads a prerogative of VVIP’s only? What about the taxpayers whose money is used to macadam these roads?

The stark difference between the macadamised portion, and the patchy potholed part, tells a lot about the mindset that is in vogue while executing works in Kashmir. Take for instance the traffic police drive in Srinagar after annual Durbar moved to the summer capital. The drive made sure the smooth run of traffic on vital roads leading to civil secretariat and other organs of state’s machinery. All other roads leading to Srinagar are in a mess. There are two main entry points from south Kashmir to Srinagar – one from Panthachowk and other from Rambagh. Both are in mess because of lack of adequate number of traffic cops manning these entry points. Panthachowk over the years has become literally pain for commuters, thanks to never ending patchwork, repairing, construction of drains, movement of heavy traffic at peak hours and lack of traffic policemen. It looks at a commuter like a nightmare, because of frequent jams. A journey of 40 kms from Islamabad to Srinagar takes more than three hours!

Once you are in Srinagar, thanks to traffic polices proactive stance, it looks uncongested. But does Kashmir reside in Srinagar only? What about people living outside its boundaries? Don’t they have right to free and dignified movement?

Yes, they do. If traffic police can make it a mission to clear Srinagar of all bottlenecks, why can’t it do the same for roads leading to the city?

Why can’t traffic police implement rule of law beyond Srinagar.

In last few decades successive governments failed to keep their promise of giving people better motorable roads, then what else one can expect.

In last three years the Panthachowk stretch has been macadamised at least thirty times. But just one light shower and we are back to medieval times.

It takes just more than rhetoric to make things happen. Why government can’t spent just a few crores and turn Lasjan road into all weather road. It can be a major relief for people travelling from south Kashmir to Srinagar. Interestingly, Lasjan road serves as default alternative route to Srinagar, despite its pathetic condition. If not macadamised, at least authorities should do the patchwork, to ease the pressure on main highway.

After all people living outside the city limits too deserve to be treated like humans.

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