Mughal Road's Opening Makes Kashmir More Accessible20 November 2010
Jammu: The opening of the historical Mughal Road in Jammu and Kashmir's Rajouri District has cut down transportation costs of produce and improved accessibility of the Kashmir Valley. Apples grown in Kashmir can easily be through the route to Poonch and Rajouri districts, which has decreased the market prices of the produce, with rates dropping to rupees 20 per kilogram from rupees 60. 'With the opening of the Mughal Road, the trade and movement of people have increased. Now, Kashmir is not far off from Poonch and Rajouri. From Rajouri, it takes only three hours to reach Kashmir,' said Ghulam Ahmed Khawaja, Deputy Commissioner, Rajouri. 'So, it has increased trade and movement of people between the districts. And apple, which is the major produce of Kashmir, it is being sold in Swarnkot, Rajouri, Sunderbani, and Poonch,' he added. The Mughal Road construction project was conceived in the year 1969 and further execution of the project took place in 1977. But after the completion of a 30-kilometer stretch, construction work stopped. In 1998, Prime Minister I. K. Gujral again announced the construction of the road but in 2006, all activity was halted when a non-governmental organisation filed a petition against the construction, saying it would prove detrimental to habitats of wild animals of the region. Conditional permission to go ahead with the construction was given only in 2007 by the Supreme Court. The construction was stopped again in 2008 during the Amarnath land row, in which the Central and State Governments had decided to transfer 99 acres of forest land to the Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board (SASB) of the Kashmir Valley to set up shelters for pilgrims, inviting protests from many Kashmiri separatist leaders.