Anantnag: Despite claims of ‘snow-preparedness’ by the administration, the Pahalgam-Aru road in Anantnag district is yet to be made motor-able after fresh snowfall much to the discomfort of locals, Aru residents in particular.
Aru is also a winter sports destination and with the fresh snowfall, players from different parts of the country will be gearing up to reach there.
Pahalgam has received more than a foot of snow over the last two days.
While other roads have been cleared on a priority basis and made motor-able, the 12 Kilometer long Pahalgam-Aru road still remains closed for vehicles.
“They have plied some machines over the road but the fact is it is far from being fit to ply on,” a local resident of Aru told Kashmir Reader.
He said that the villagers have been cut off from the rest of the world and among other difficulties, the people were facing shortage of essential supplies.
“We have not even been able to ferry out sick to the hospitals. This is the only road that connects us to the rest of the world. We feel trapped,” another resident told Kashmir Reader over phone.
They say that their supplies were running out fast and there were no signs of the road getting fit to travel on any time soon.
“We have to walk these 12 Kilometers in order to get any kind of supplies,” the residents rue.
Besides, the residents say, Aru is a winter sport destination and players will now be arriving any time.
“Is this what we will be offering in the name of winter sports? A road that cannot be plied upon,” the residents ask.
They lament that on one hand government speaks of promoting the place on the tourism map and on the other hand is apathetic towards the plight of their own people.
The Mechanical Engineering Department (MED) officials however maintain that the road was a “Priority Second” road.
“Which means it can be cleared on the second or the third day of the snowfall unlike the priority first ones, which need to be cleared on the first day,” Assistant Executive Engineer (AEE) MED Anantnag, Zulfiqar Hussain, told Kashmir Reader.
Besides, Hussain said, only 4 Kilometers were his jurisdiction and the rest of the R&B department.
“Despite that we have cleared the whole 12 Kilometers on our own. But the road is not macadamized at certain places which poses a great challenge to clear it immediately,” Hussain said.
He maintained that the MED was doing its best to restore connectivity.