Shopian: The Shopian-Aharbal road, vital for the local tourism economy, is in a shambles for a long time but the authorities are showing no inclination to repair it, especially the 4-km stretch from Sedow village to Aharbal which was damaged due to soil erosion some four years ago.
Besides the damaged four-kilometer stretch, the road from Shopian to Sedow is so narrow that traffic jams are the order of the day, deterring tourists from the route.
Locals from the area said that due to the narrow and damaged road, very few local tourists or picnickers opt for this road, which the locals say is affecting their economy.
Showkat Ahmad Dar, a local from Sedow village, said that the condition of this road is the same as it was decades ago. “Not an inch of this road was widened in the last two decades. Now the damage from Sedow village onward has been left unattended, which has made this road even more dangerous,” he said.
Villagers appealed to the authorities to turn their attention towards the road, so that accidents are prevented and tourists able to take this route which is shortest to the Aharbal tourist destination.
Executive Engineer of the Roads and Buildings (R&B) department at Shopian, Farooq Ahmad, admitted that the road suffered massive damage due to soil erosion some four years ago.
“We would have repaired it but the matter lies with the forest department as they are the caretakers of forest land. Now we are in deliberations with the forest department and I hope they will be taken to a conclusion,” Ahmad said.
On the matter of widening the road from Shopian to Sedow, he said that the decision should be taken by the government.
“It’s true that this road is vital both in terms of tourism and local connectivity but it will take funds to do the work. If funds get released, we will carry out the work,” Ahmad said.