Tourists, Passengers, Truckers facing brunt due to highway restrictions

The restrictions on the Jammu-Srinagar highway is causing a lot of trouble to tourists and passengers alike besides hampering the movement of trucks laden with essential goods to a large extent.

Tourist coming from various parts of India have complained that it takes hours to get permission while as the truckers remain stranded for days at many places with loaded ration and other essential commodities for Kashmir or Chenab Valley.

Even as traffic department has been trying to clear the stranded trucks for smooth movement of traffic, passengers and tourists have been suffering badly due to restriction on the highway in the wake of Amarnath yatra.

The transporters said that last year the yatra went on smoothly as vehicles were allowed to ply during the night.

Irritated with restriction, many passengers, tourists and drivers held a protest demonstration here.

They were protesting as they were not allowed to head for Kashmir.
“I was stuck in Jammu from last two days. They allowed me, today,” said a driver from Kashmir, Parveez Ahmed. Ahmed was driving towards Kashmir with over seven tourists from Mumbai.

Speaking to Kashmir Post, one of the tourists termed the restrictions as “unnecessary harassment”.

“It seemed unnecessary harassment on the highway. We have been waiting for hours,” Vijay Sharma, a tourist, said.

“We were stopped at two places until we reached Nashri tunnel. For three hours, we were made to stop at Nagrota. People are being forced to face this harassment without any reason. There might be some security concerns, but this is harassment.”

Sushil Sharma, a travel agency owner, told Kashmir Post that passengers have been facing problem because vehicles are allowed from Nagrota after 2 PM onwards. “The passengers then reach Srinagar at 1 or 2 AM.”

Sharma said that the authorities should not let the passengers to face such problems. “Amarnath Yatra is allowed for Baltal and Pahalgam till 7 AM and many hours later, local vehicles are allowed to move.”

Manmohan Singh Khalsa, president, Truck Union, told Kashmir Post that around 5000 trucks loaded with goods have been stranded on different locations from Jammu to Srinagar.

“They are waiting for signal from Traffic Police. It takes four to five days to reach respective destinations in Kashmir.”

“We are running into losses. We contacted traffic police officials managing highway, but they said that they have orders and cant do much about it,” said Khalsa.

He claimed that 1500 trucks have been stranded on bypass road from Kunjwani towards Sidra.

After unloading trucks in Kashmir, he claimed, that it takes more than five days to return back. “There is complete mess on the highway ,” he said.

Kulvinder Singh alias Rinku, a truck driver stuck on Kishanpur-Manwal road (Jandrah), told Kashmir Post that he was carrying Government ration to be delivered at Ramban in Food Corporation of India (FCI). “Normally, it only takes six to seven hours to deliver goods in Ramban in a day. However, for the past six days, we just have reached Kishanpur-Manwal road near Udhampur.”

On Sidra road, driver Rinku, claimed that he was stopped for two days by the traffic police. “ Then we were told to go towards Jandrah and stopped at Kishanpur-Manwal road. From the past four days, we are stranded here and traffic police have not allowed us to move an inch forward.”
“There is no hotel, food and toilets. We are not allowed to go to Udhampur bypass road,” he rued.

Rinku claimed that many trucks destined for Kishtwar, Doda and Ramban have also been stopped at many places.

Meanwhile, sources said that as many as 1070 Kashmir-bound area waiting at Dhar road in Udhampur and 150 are on halt at Garnai area of Udhampur district.

Despite repeated attempts, no official was ready to comment on this issue.