Bad Roads Are Adding To Misery

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Kashmir has been a major attraction for tourists from the time immemorial. With brief interval valley has again become a top tourist place and is in the process of regaining its lost glory. But while tourists in large numbers have begun visiting the valley, the condition of infrastructure that is most important to sustain this business is going from bad to worse. Be it the accessibility, the road connectivity or even air connectivity, all forms of transportation suffers from various issues. To make matters worse, the roads connecting various towns and villages within the valley are also in dilapidated condition.

While the tourists, most of whom are on a short visit to enjoy the scenic beauty of the valley, don’t make much fuss about the lack of facilities, it is the common Kashmiri who bears the brunt of these infrastructural shortcomings. In the last decade or so, when economic activity has begun to pick up in the valley, the number of vehicles has gone up manifold. But the width of most roads, be they within the Srinagar city or inter district highways, has remained almost same. There has been no upgradation of roads all these years.  Apart from making a few by pass roads, in Srinagar and a few other towns, not much has been done in terms of improving the condition of roads. No thought has been put into making more and better roads to make the life of a common Kashmiri more comfortable.

If matters were already not bad, the recent floods in the valley have played havoc with whatever was left of the roads, especially within Srinagar city. The moment sun comes out in the valley, after a rainfall, the whole place is covered in a thick blanket of dust. Not only is this bad for the health of Kashmiris who suffer from it silently, but it is also a wrong advertisement for tourism in Kashmir. Tourists visiting the valley, who witness such pathetic roads and suffer from dust, can’t be expected to carry good memories with them. This definitely doesn’t augur well for the tourism industry. This dust, coupled with the pollen, from Russian poplars, that is a regular future during summer in the valley, is responsible for causing allergies and related diseases among people, especially among kids. These are sources of constant irritation and suffering for people in the valley.

The new govt which has taken charge a few months back has as yet not show any serious interest in upgrading these roads. Given that one of the major promises of this new dispensation was to provide a clean, responsible and effective government, its indifference and silence about the crumbling road infrastructure is baffling. Road accidents, owing to such bad roads are on the rise in the valley. Traffic jams in almost all parts of Srinagar city and even on the highways have become a regular future and cause a lot of wastage of precious time for people who get stuck in such jams. The scene looks quite bleak and improvement can come only if the government shows some responsiveness and a sense of purpose and urgency in improving the pathetic condition of roads.

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