Day-long jam at Qazigund due to traffic mismanagement, military convoy
Srinagar: Yet again hundreds of people including women and children were left in the lurch after they were stopped from proceeding towards Jammu in Qazigund and adjoining areas on the Srinagar-Jammu highway Tuesday night.
This reporter witnessed hundreds of Jammu-bound vehicles stopped by traffic policemen from Lower Munda on the highway early Tuesday morning. They were made to wait as the traffic police flouted its own schedule by allowing vehicles from Jammu to cross Jawahar Tunnel on Tuesday.
The traffic police department had announced that traffic would proceed from Srinagar to Jammu on Tuesday. On the contrary, they stopped Jammu-bound vehicles and caused a blockade on the entire stretch from Lower Munda till Qazigund, with the result that passengers had to spend the entire night on the road in the chilling cold.
Kashmir Reader talked to several stranded passengers while several others highlighted their plight on social media sites.
According to political science scholar Bashir Ahmad from Anantnag, he left home early morning and reached near Qazigund around 9:15 am. Until 10:30pm in the night, he had covered only a kilometer in more than 12 hours.
“Now we are stuck on the highway and there is no way to go home. Both tubes on the highway are jammed with hundreds of vehicles,” he said.
Thousands of travellers including children and women were stranded in Qazigund and adjoining areas for the entire night on Tuesday, with the government arranging no shelter or any facility for them. On Wednesday morning, villagers living nearby organised community kitchens to offer tea and bread to the stranded people.
“Nobody from traffic police or administration reached to us for offering shelter or food,” Bashir said, belying the claims of the traffic department of arranging facilities for the stranded passengers.
Another traveller, Ajaz Abdullah, shared a photo on Twitter showing a serpentine line of vehicles on the highway.
“Mismanagement at its peak. If road wasn’t OK, what was the need to declare it open from Sgr to Jammu today. Stuck at Verinag from 9.30 am for reasons unknown,” he tweeted.
On Wednesday morning, while civilian vehicles were stranded since the previous day, traffic policemen cleared a single lane on Qazigund-Lower Munda stretch at Wazoora to provide passage to a convoy of government forces. Looking at this, stranded passengers protested and blocked the road for the soldiers’ convoy. Traffic policemen and policemen arrived at the spot to pacify the situation and simultaneously allowed stranded civilian vehicles along with the military convoy to move ahead.
A traveller stranded on the highway, Abid Ahmad, outraged at the traffic department’s mismanagement. He said that he along with others trudged through landslide-prone areas on foot from Banihal to reach Ramban, from where they boarded vehicles to Jammu.
“The traffic department has caused a mess of the highway. They are allowing vehicles of government forces which are causing traffic jams,” he said.