Ramban, March 13, : As 300-kilometers long Srinagar-Jammu highway remained closed for the sixth day, thousands of thirsty and hungry stranded passengers including children and women carried on their journey by foot to reach their desired destinations while not a single official from Ramban administration was seen present on any spot of the highway. The wailing and tired passengers lashed on the government for being callous.
The strategic Srinagar-Jammu highway remained closed for the sixth consecutive day on Monday due to fresh landslides and shooting stones in Ramban and Pantiyal areas. An official said that fresh landslides hit the road at Ramsoo and Mehar areas of Ramban while shooting stones continued to hit the highway at Pantiyal.
Recounting their horror, majority of the passengers from Kashmir Valley accused police and civil administration of being callous towards their woes. Due to lack of coordination between police and civil administration, the passengers have been suffering beyond imagination. “The road from Chanderkoot to Pantiyal was clear and yet stranded passengers were not allowed to move on in their vehicles. They alighted from their vehicles and carried on their journey by foot. The irony is that between Chanderkoot and Pantiyal the local auto rickshaw drivers who tried to give lift to the children and women were admonished by SP Ramban as he was not allowing any vehicle to move from Chanderkoot to Pantiyal,” Irfan Ahmed told CNS over phone adding that children and women were crying as they didn’t find any place to rest during the night.
“An army officer somehow managed a vehicle and tried to give lift to some stranded passengers, but he too was rebuked by the police,” he said and added that the stranded passengers have been suffering due to callous attitude of a particular police officer posted at Ramban.
Another passenger said that Sarpanch Ramban adjusted some of the stranded passengers in an abandoned building belonging to JKTDC. “The building was without matting and windows. The passengers shivered with cold whole night and there was not a drop of water available to them,” he said women and children spent night in the open sky.
“We contacted Deputy Commissioner Ramban on phone who declined to help us on the excuse that he has been recently transferred,” he said and added that there is no habitation here. Men, women and children are hungry and thirsty since there are no food outlets. “We cannot manage to get a bottle of water. Government has left us on God’s mercy. Not a single official from Government is seen anywhere. The children and women are in panic. They are weeping for the want of food,” he said.
A senior police official said that they didn’t allow drivers to move towards Pantiyal as there were apprehensions of land sliding. “We have been trying our best to ease the sufferings of the stranded passengers,” he said and added that
Border Roads Organisation (BRO), responsible for the maintenance of the highway, has pressed into service sophisticated machine and men to put through the traffic on the highway. (CNS)
2015 Kashmir Despatch