Highway Ban, Landslides, Mismanagement cause shortage of essentials across Valley

The frequent shutdown of the 300-km Srinagar-Jammu highway — a crucial and the only route for the supply of essential commodities into the Kashmir valley — has led to a fresh shortage of goods in the region.

Residents said the closure of the mountainous highway had led to a shortage of livestock and vegetables. It has even led to the cancellation of weddings as the marriage season begins in the region after the winter.

A leading business body in the region, Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry, had said on Thursday that the mismanagement of the traffic and frequent closure of the highway was causing “crippling losses to the economy” and warned of an “economic collapse” if immediate corrective measures were not initiated.

In the past eight days, the highway was accessible to the Srinagar-bound traffic for only three days during when only stranded vehicles were allowed to move towards the summer capital, an official of the traffic department said.

The dramatic decrease in the flow of traffic into the Valley has been caused by continuous landslides and shooting stones, which blocked the highway twice in the past eight days, and also due to the ban on the civilian traffic on the highway. The official said landslides and shooting stones at Anokhi Fall and Monkey Mod in Ramban district had blocked the highway on two out of the past eight days.

The ban on the civilian traffic on the highway — to allow safe passage of convoys of security forces — remained in effect for two of the past eight days, the officials said.

In the past eight days, the flow of essential supplies into the Valley has remained limited to a mere 5,000 trucks — most of which were stranded for several days — reached their destinations.

A Srinagar resident, who deals in livestock, said seven of his sheep had died as the truck transporting them from Delhi remained stranded for three days on the highway.

The frequent shutdowns of the highway have also created a scare among the traders as they fear long closures can harm livestock and perishable stocks.

The Srinagar-Jammu highway had remained shut for most days during the past winter as multiple spells of rain and snowfall had led to landslides, shooting stones and avalanches that blocked the crucial road.

Traders fear losses
– In the past eight days, the Srinagar-Jammu national highway was accessible to the Srinagar-bound traffic for only three days and only stranded vehicles were cleared
– The frequent shutdowns of the highway have also created a scare among the traders as they fear long closures can harm livestock and perishable stocks