The condition of roads, lanes, by lanes , service lanes and so on is pathetically abysmal across the length and breadth of Kashmir. This condition is not a matter of few potholes here and there but actually defines stretches of roads here and is so egregious that it is almost in the nature of a scandal, especially that no notice and remedial action has been or is being taken. The question that arises is: why, in the first place, have roads in Kashmir become so decrepit And, second, why is no remedial action being taken? In terms of the first question, corruption and its various manifestations might constitute the answer.
That is, while awarding contracts and building roads, corrupt practices ensure that the quality of materials used in these is substandard. This, in a place, like Kashmir, defined as it is by inclement, cold and volatile weather , is a recipe for the deterioration of roads in the near future. The life of roads is then severely compromised at the moment of building these ( or even at the time of awarding contracts). The same holds true for subsequent maintenance of these roads, their repair and remedy. That is, corruption could be held to be the major determinant of the lack of repair and so on. Obiter dictum, the fact that Kashmir’s roads are lying in such a prolonged period of disrepair and terrible conditions reflects the overall structural inertia that defines the administration in Kashmir. Given roads are visible and obvious but still nothing is being done about these, the fingers point to the inertia in the nature and structures of the administration.
While deep rooted inertia of the administration might never really change, but the condition of roads must improve for the sake of motorists, pedestrians and assorted users of roads. The powers that be must become serious regarding these and take those who are responsible for this condition to task. The reference here is to contractors and engineers who are responsible for the mess in the first place. Besides being held accountable for the mess, they must be penalized and made to pay for the conditions they have actually created. And, it is these culprits that must actually do their bit in improving the condition of roads by renegotiation of contracts or referring to contracts they had signed and making them do their bit. It is high time that roads in Kashmir are, in the least, made functional, if not aesthetic, the sooner, the better.