Early Times Report
Srinagar, Oct 23: Frequent traffic jams on the Srinagar-Jammu national highway are taking a heavy toll on the commuters.
On an average daily 5000 to 6000 vehicles ply on the national highway that connects Kashmir with the rest of the country.
However, the highway, which is prone to landslides often witnesses traffic jams due to blockade of the road.
"Whether it is winter or summer, this road always witnesses traffic jams," said Shabir Ahmad, a sumo driver.
Shabir said there seems no mechanism for the traffic department to avoid the traffic jams.
Traffic jams are problematic, especially to patients and old aged commuters.
During winters the road witnesses massive traffic jams when its gets blocked due to landslides. "The downpour often leads to land sliding during winters resulting closure of the highway. The vehicles get stranded for days," Ghulam Mohammad, a resident of Ramban said.
"With onset of winters, one can see the stranded vehicles lined up for few kilometers these days," he said. The miseries of the passengers are added upon, when the hoteliers and restaurant owners loot them by overcharging for the services.
The shopkeepers are dictating their own prices and creating much embarrassment to the stranded passengers on the highway.
"Whenever the highway gets closed, the Dhabawallas and hoteliers are fleecing customers by charging exorbitant rates for food items," said Imran, a sumo driver from Srinagar.
"For a cup of tea and bread, we are forced to pay Rs 50, wherever we get stranded on the highway," he added.
They further alleged that despite deployment of traffic cops, mismanagement remained prevalent from Ramban town to Banihal, on either sides of the highway.
Due to the jam, local government employees, patients and students also remained stuck for hours together.
Meanwhile a senior police official said that they were making efforts for smooth flow of traffic on the highway.
"If there are any complaints, people can bring into the notice of concerned officials," the official added.