For several years, traffic jams on the Pantha Chowk-Sempora stretch of the Srinagar-Jammu Highway used to be a big headache for commuters from South Kashmir. Passengers stuck in busses and cabs would be forced to cover this distance on foot, be it biting cold, driving rain, or scorching heat, with everyone mouthing curses at whoever mattered in the administration.
There were instances of critically ill patients from South Kashmir areas breathing their last in ambulances held up in the jams. Students would often miss their examinations due to long delays on their way to colleges and schools.
But concern and attention from two dedicated and efficient officers in our administration (the former divisional commissioner for Kashmir, Shailender Kumar, and the serving deputy commissioner for Srinagar, Farooq Ahmad Shah) brought a dramatic change, and people were relieved of the daily traffic ordeals they had to endure in the Pantha Chowk- Sempora area.
With minimal expenditure, the officers converted this stretch into a four-lane motorway, due to which it now sees smooth flow of traffic.
But unfortunately, the problem has now cropped up on the Pampore-Galandar sector in the Pulwama district, replicating the miseries commuters faced between Pantha Chowk and Sempora. Because of intractable traffic jams that spill into Pampore town, South Kashmir residents travelling to Srinagar for work, study, treatment and other requirements are again at the receiving end. Once more, their daily journeys have almost turned into nightmares.
Could one expect the present divisional commissioner for Kashmir and the deputy commissioner for Pulwama to take up road-widening from Sempora to the Pampore-Galandar area and convert this tract also into four lanes, for which land is available on both sides (thanks to the demolition drives undertaken by the Mufti Sayeed government in 2002)? The task would not involve heavy expenditure, and can be accomplished in a reasonably short timeframe.
Besides, a divider for the road from Sempora to Galandar (where it will link up with the four-lane under construction) on the pattern of the Pantha Chowk-Sempora stretch would make vehicular movement safe and hassle-free, relieving people of the mental agony they face in travelling between the two points.
A R Ganai,