Srinagar, Apr 6: For the first time in at least last seven decades, the accessibility to 7,000 villages on either side of the Jammu and Kashmir highway would be severely impacted by the two-day-a-week ban on civilian traffic the government has recently ordered.
On April 3, the state’s home department ordered that on Sundays and Wednesdays, only the movement of convoys would be allowed on Jammu-Srinagar national highway from Udhampur to Baramulla.
“No civilian traffic shall be allowed from 4 am to 5 pm on these days till May 31, 2019,” the order reads.
Although the authorities have claimed that it won’t be a blanket ban, the move is going to impact an entire population living and working in south, central and north Kashmir.
There are at least two universities, 700 educational institutes and 90 crossing points located on the highway.
Banning it twice a week, will, hence, has drawn severe criticism from all sections of society including employees, who use the road to reach offices in south and north Kashmir.
The employees, who travel on the highway, have been maintaining that its closure will affect their attendance.
“We leave office at 4 PM. We use this highway to reach our homes. If this order is not revoked, the attendance at government offices would come down on Wednesdays,” said an employee of the R&B department who shuttles every day between his home in Srinagar and office Anantnag.
The diktat is also going to impact thousands of students studying in at least 200 schools located alongside the highway.
As far as healthcare is concerned, banning the highway would also block the access to at least 24 district and sub district hospitals located close to it.
Besides, accessibility to some private hospitals, where thousands of patients visit for treatment, too would get affected.
New City Hospital Tengpora, Sub-District hospital Pattan, District Hospital Baramulla, Trauma Hospital Pattan, Noora hospital, Star hospital Sanat Nagar, Ahmad hospital Nowgam, Sub-District hospital, Pampore, MM hospital, Emergency Hospital Qazigund, besides five hospitals of district Ramban (Banihal, Ramsoo, Khadi Ram, Banihal and Batote) are all located alongside or close to the highway.
The crossing points where the movement of civilians would be snapped include Sangrama, Kreeri crossing, Tapper crossing, Patokha, Churoo, Hygam, Hyderbeigh, Singhpora, Palhallan, Pattan, Nehalpora, Batpora, Tangmarg, Zangamcrossing, Hanjiveera, Hartrath, Singpora, Dewar, Parihaspora, Narbal, Shalting, Sharief Abad, Parimpora chowk will also see no movement of civilians.