Srinagar: State Secretary CPI(M) Ghulam Nabi Malik has said that the decision of Jammu and Kashmir administration to restrict plying of civilian vehicles on the 97-km stretch from Qazigund to Nashri on the national highway and suspension of train services on Banihal-Qazigund rail section from 10 am to 3 pm for 46 days during the Amarnathji Yatra is set to lead to massive socio-economic problems in the landlocked Kashmir Valley.
It will not only affect the local people immensely but tourists as well, who are visiting Kashmir these days, albeit in less numbers. The ban will make a huge impact on transporters, students, teachers, patients, schools, tourists and traders as well and as such the government must review this decision.
Transport is the engine of growth and highway is its lifeline when it is choked people will face the shortage of goods which we import from different parts of the country. Shortage of goods will lead to a hike in prices and ultimately it will lead to the crisis.
No doubt security of Amarnath pilgrims is important and the decision must have been taken by the Government as a security issue. But why should be the issues of common people who will suffer hugely due to this order left unattended?
Amarnathji Yatra has been going on for decades and local people have always been part and parcel of making it successful. Even this was recently acknowledged by the Governor who lauded the role of locals in ensuring the smooth conduct of the annual pilgrimage over the years. This is the first instance of administration restricting civilian traffic along the highway to facilitate smooth movement of Amarnath Yatra convoys.
Such order will create lot of problems for the local population and needs to be reviewed immediately. The move is expected to cause major disruptions in the region, given that the Srinagar-Jammu highway is the lifeline connecting the Valley with the rest of the country.
Instead of providing alternative routes and means of travel to Kashmir, the closure of the only available road link will put the whole population to unimaginable inconvenience and will have disastrous consequences for its economy.