Thousands Of Passengers Stranded As Srinagar Highway Remains Closed

5 March 2015
The Tribune (Chandigarh)

Jammu: Thousands of passengers from the Kashmir valley and Doda district remained stranded in Jammu following landslides and slippery conditions at various places on the Jammu-Srinagar national highway here today. On Wednesday, the stranded passengers had held a demonstration here to protest the shortage of basic facilities and demanded their airlifting to Kashmir. The state government today deputed Minister for Education Naeem Akhtar and Minister for Roads and Buildings Syed Mohammad Altaf Bukhari to visit the General Bus Stand and take stock of the problems of the stranded passengers. Interacting with the stranded passengers, Akhtar said the BECON was carrying out restoration work on the war-footing and damaged stretch of the road in the Ramban area was expected to be cleared by night today. He said on Wednesday about 1,000 light vehicles were allowed to move towards Srinagar and expressed hope that if the weather conditions improved transport would be allowed fully to ply towards Srinagar. He said the traffic movement on the Jammu-Srinagar national highway was closed temporarily due to landslides at some stretches to protect any loss of life and property. The minister said the redress of people's grievances was the prime concern of the government and 'the service to humanity is its mission and goal'. He assured the stranded passengers that the government knew their problems and would take requisite steps to redress them. He directed the officers concerned to take stringent action against the profiteers, especially the hoteliers who are charging exorbitant rates from the stranded passengers. Meanwhile, the MLA from Rafiabad, Yawar Dilawar Mir, urged the government to provide free accommodation and ration to passengers and people who have been stranded due to closure of the Srinagar-Jammu and Jammu-Doda-Kishtwar road for the last few days. In a statement issued today, he also requested the government to arrange for carrying stranded passengers from Jammu to Srinagar and Ladakh by air free of cost. He said the stranded passengers in Jammu were facing tremendous hardships for want of food and shelter.