Jammu : The elaborate arrangements made by the Government for the convenience of the public on the National Highway 44 during the restricted travel period on NH, was quite successful on the first day of the traffic prohibition today.

As per the latest reports received from districts, the movement of civilian vehicles in Kashmir Division and Jammu Division remained normal in all interior roads except for the NH where only exempted categories of vehicles were seen plying. As per the reports gathered from the DCs of Pulwama, Anantnag, Budgam and Baramulla, special permission passes were given to 128, 210, 45 and 110 vehicles, totaling 493 vehicles, falling in the exempted categories. Passes were issued in Udhampur and Ramban also. These vehicles were given passes for traveling on the Highway.

Further, a very large number of vehicles were allowed to cross the NH at various crossings in all districts. In Srinagar, over 2000 civilian vehicles crossed Panthachowk towards various destinations along the National Highway. Further, normal civil traffic movement was observed in various areas including Tengpora, Shalteng, Parimpora, Nowgam, Batamaloo, Sanatnagar, Bemina Chowk, Hyderpora, Chanpora and Narbal Crossing where over 10,000 vehicles crossed the NH unhindered. In Anantnag, around 3000 vehicles crossed the NH at various crossings.

Many people used alternate roads, especially the old NH where available, and other internal routes to commute and also to reach Srinagar, thus completely avoiding the NH. It is pertinent to mention that students appearing in various exams also reached in time as their roll number slips were treated as passes. All emergency cases, medical or otherwise are being cleared without any delay. Doctors and businessmen who have to attend their establishments on the NH were allowed without any problem. From the overall proceedings of the day, it appears that the movement of vehicles was hassle free, although heavier on alternate routes. It may be mentioned that the local administration made extensive arrangements to facilitate the movement of public through the provision of Travel Passes through a Nodal Officer in each district for covering (i) various emergencies, including medical, (ii) school buses, (iii) students appearing in any examination, (iv) Government employees on duty (iv) hospital staff on duty, (v) passengers travelling by air, (vi) political persons needing to campaign, etc. on production of requisite identification documents. Besides, over a 100 Executive Magistrates were on duty today along the NH from Baramulla to Udhampur from 5 a.m., to ensure smooth movement of Security Forces’ Convoy and also facilitate smooth civilian movement.

The Government stated that the regulation of civilian traffic during movement of Security Forces’ convoy had to be notified for two days a week, in the larger interest of security of everyone and appealed to people to extend full cooperation in the smooth regulation of traffic as was the case today. The restrictions are, in any case, applicable upto 31st May 2019 only. The total duration of prohibition is for 26 hours out of 168 hours in a week, which is 15% of the time. Further, the total number of restricted days is just 15 during this entire period. 8 of these are Sundays. Planned restrictions, with active facilitation of the public by the administration for exceptions and emergencies, is far more convenient to the public so that they can plan their movements in advance. As movements reduce, the restrictions will be relooked. The State Administration is committed to ensure the least inconvenience, particularly on the two notified days, i.e. Sundays and Wednesdays. This should set at rest any misgivings and also give the true situation on the ground on Day 1 of the restriction.