Highway Curbs Partially Eased 

SRINAGAR —The government on Saturday partially relaxed the two-day-a-week restrictions on the movement of civilian traffic on Highway which was put in place to “security” of government forces’ convoys.

Earlier this month, the government had imposed the restrictions on the highway (NH-44), the only road link connecting Kashmir Valley with rest of the world, days after the Pulwama attack in which 49 CRPF soldiers were killed.

The restriction barred civilian traffic from plying on the road on Wednesdays and Sundays.

Now, there would be no restrictions from Srinagar to Baramulla (both in the Kashmir region) on Wednesdays, an official spokesperson said Saturday.

However, the restrictions would continue between Srinagar and Udhampur, in the Jammu region, on NH-44 as earlier, he said.

“These would be reviewed periodically and relaxation would be made as the need for restriction reduces,” he said. Srinagar falls between the two cities.

The government has been facing severe criticism for closing down the highway even as Union Home Ministry sought to defend it. It said that the ban became necessary in the backdrop of the Pulwama attack and said the step has been taken for ensuring safe movement of forces till May 31.  In its statement, the ministry gave statistics in its defence stating the total duration of prohibition is for 24 hours out of 168 hours in a week, which amounts to only 15 per cent of the time. Terming it “deliberate and mischievous disinformation” campaign about traffic restrictions on the highway connecting Jammu with Kashmir Valley, the ministry said, “The state government…has already clarified in unambiguous terms, that out of seven days in a week, only reasonable restrictions have been imposed, that too for 12 hours, two days in a week. This has been done to ensure safe movement of forces and at the same time minimising the inconvenience to public.”  

Convoy Day Today: Traffic Department 

Traffic department on Saturday said there would be no movement of civilian traffic from Udhampur-Baramulla on highway on Sunday.

“Tomorrow (Sunday) will be convoy day. No movement of any kind of public vehicle shall be allowed

From Udhampur to Srinagar and vice versa,” the traffic department said in an official statement issued here.    

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