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Eroded roads

The state of roads in Jammu and Kashmir is simply deplorable. Walk any lane or main road in Srinagar and elsewhere and you are bound to notice huge potholes and big patches of missing macadam. While one understands that a tough winter had to have this impact on the life and quality of roads, the sheer negligence on part of the district and divisional authorities is conspicuous by the fact that even as we are half way through April, nobody seems to have any idea when and how will this issue be dealt with. It is quite embarrassing that when the government is trying to do its best to revive the tourism sector in Kashmir, it has put little to no effort in improving the condition of the roads, even on the stretches which connect major tourist destinations in Kashmir. As everybody must have noticed by now, macadamisation of roads has hardly been able to hold up proving that quality of the material used may not have been up to the standard. As for the commuters, there daily routes are full of bumpy rides which are equally dangerous during rainy days. Be it uptown or the old city in Srinagar, Anantnag in south Kashmir, or Baramulla in the north, the story is the same everywhere. Most of the roads have developed cracks and at several places upper layers have been worn off. The valley faced one of the worst winters in Kashmir which proved to the last nail in the coffin of the already decrepit roads. In south Kashmir, commuters say that Bijbehara-Anantnag road, Nai Basti-Anantnag, and KP road are the glaring examples of authorities’ apathy. Commuters told this newspaper last week that situation is equally horrible in inner areas where roads have become rivers. Traveling through these routes is full of danger as road accidents can occur anytime, they say. Because of bad roads and traffic jams have increased manifold the commuting time within and between the districts. Pulwama district has the same story to tell. Likewise, Nihalpora, Tapper, Tangmarg and Baramulla Kandi, and other roads in north Kashmir too have turned into death traps. In central Kashmir’s Budgam, Ganderbal, and Srinagar, the road condition is no different. Because of bad roads, traveling has become a harrowing experience nowadays with people complaining of bumper to bumper that make commuting in the valley a nightmare.  Recently, the Lt Governor also reviewed the improvement of road network component of the Smart City Projects in Jammu and Srinagar and directed for completing the survey at the earliest. He asked the concerned officers to give due care and attention to reducing inconvenience to the public while executing the work. One hopes that the government realises the issues public at large face. The government departments responsible for upgradation and maintenance for roads and road connectivity should pull up their socks and ensure that their work becomes visible. If the government makes claims of development in the valley, they need to be substantiated with real work on the ground. The basic issues of the people need to be addressed on priority if the government wants to regain people’s confidence. While on paper, things may look all hunky dory, the reality hits hard when one moves out and sees the condition of the roads.