Anantnag: The single, narrow approach road to both the district hospital and the fruit mandi here in Kulgam town has been a nightmare for patients for almost a decade now, particularly during the “apple season”.
The district hospital and the fruit mandi in Kulgam are located opposite each other, and were thrown open for the general public more or less at the same time. As the mandi has grown with more and more farmers as well as traders getting dependent on it, the traffic to the mandi has also grown substantially.
“You can see how hundreds of trucks enter and leave the mandi, day in and day out throughout these months of the fruit season,” said Ghulam Qadir, who runs a chemist shop in the vicinity.
The fruit season commences around mid-June and stretches up to almost the end of the year, making it a long grind for the people visiting the district hospital.
Doctors, patients and locals all said that the trucks choke the already congested road to the hospital. “It’s less than a half a kilometer from the Kulgam market to the hospital, but it often consumes half an hour or more to travel the distance,” a doctor at the district hospital said.
He said that often patients who need immediate medical care lose precious minutes before they reach the hospital. “Because of the congestion on this road we have to often refer patients whom we could have treated here, had they not lost the 15-20 minutes on this stretch,” the doctor said.
The district administration had a few years back proposed a ring road which would have translated into an alternate approach road for the fruit mandi, leaving the existing road entirely for the hospital goers.
There, however, has been no headway on the construction of this ring road and it looks like the project has been shelved altogether, despite the district administration pushing for it.
Kashmir Reader talked to Deputy Commissioner Kulgam Showkat Ahmad, who said that there were no funds for the construction of the ring road. “It has been proposed but it is a huge project and involves land compensations and other modalities. For now we have not received any funds for the ring road,” he said.