SRINAGAR: The Srinagar-Jammu highway remained closed for seventh consecutive day on Tuesday prompting authorities to make arrangements to airlift stranded passengers. The arrangements came quite late as hundreds of passengers faced the tough situation since Sunday.
The highway was closed after a portion of the road on the Panthal was washed away due to heavy landslides. On Monday the traffic police allowed vehicular movement in the morning which immediately around in the afternoon was stopped at Chanderkoot due to skidding of the road near Ramsu.
Sources told Kashmir Patriot that thousands of passengers were stranded at Chanderkoot, Digdole, Ramban, Panthal and Ramsu. Reports added scores of passengers are also stuck on way as they were walking by foot to reach Ramsu which is the major spot of land slides.
According to eyewitnesses, over 2000 vehicles were stranded at different places on the highway.
Thousands of passengers were stranded at Chanderkoot besides some managed to move back to Jammu. Thousands of stranded passengers abandoned their vehicles at the Chanderkoot citing personnel urgencies to reach Srinagar and walked over 40 km to reach Ramsu in order to board Vehicle towards Banihal from where they expected to board trains to the valley.
Many stranded passengers who managed to reach Ramsu after walking huge distance by walking for more than 10 hours, climbs 300 ft risky mountain told Kashmir Patriot, that on reaching Ramsu, they were further annoyed by the authorities as no transport facilities was made available on the other side.
“We walked for two days to reach Ramus along children, women, and elderly persons. We were left on God’s mercy by the government. And on reaching Ramsu, there was not transport facility so that we can board train at Banihal,” they said.
They added, “It is a horror highway which has exposed the government’s failure to provide helping hand to the people in the situations of calamity.
They said the ignorant attitude of government added more woes to the stranded passengers. “JKSRTC buses are rusting in government garage but they were not used to ease us. The administration seems unplanned to tackle the situation that arose due to the sudden closure of national highway as it was reopened after four days on Sunday.
These passengers said that they walked without food and water as the shopkeepers were out of stock due to huge rush. They added that no one form the district administration be it police or civil officials were seen on ground. Adding that a small number of traffic cops and police personnel’s were visible at a nakka outside Chanderkoot Police station and Ramsu Police station for no help to these stressed people.
“How come the authorities especially in the jurisdiction of Ramban and Ramus where thousands of ill-fated passengers including, women, children and scores of patients were stuck can’t even provide drinking water on the highway?
Many stranded passengers who were stuck at the Seeri Ramban area alleged that they spent night on the streets as some of them hardly managed to enter the defunct Jammu Kashmir Tourism development Corporation (JKTDC) building. They said that the JKTDC building was in an immense dismal state with no furnishing, electricity supply and washroom.
“Some of the passengers entered dismal JKTDC building to take shelter for night that had only roof, no more better than spending night on streets”, said Abrar Ahmad, stranded passenger.
He said that they even called Farooq Ahmad Shah, Secretary Tourism, who assured some arrangement but nothing come at the avail for these helpless people.
While hundreds are stranded in Jammu since last one week. These passengers according to the reports reaching to Kashmir Patriot have protested at Bus stand in Jammu several times alleging government for not making arrangements for their stay and food. “We have no money left for stay in hotels and food. What will we do? It takes government one week to think of airlifting passengers that too with the help of army”, said agitated passengers.
Meanwhile on Tuesday today, the state government has made arrangements to airlift the stranded passengers from Srinagar to Udhampur and back.