For if there was one name Srinagar would get for the year 2019 it would definitely be a city of potholes. Potholes are just everywhere. Right from the Civil secretariat, to the mini flyover on Jahangir Chowk, in downtown part of the city, in upscale Rajbagh, Jawahar Nagar, Sanat Nagar and Hyderpora, on the road leading to the Srinagar Airport and even on the Posh Gupkar and Boulevard roads potholes are just everywhere. They choke traffic, lessen time span of vehicles, occasionally also lead to accidents and increase travel time by manifolds. For the potholes that the city of Srinagar has as of now it would not be out of place to compare it with roads we had in 1950s and 1960s. It is amazing how things were allowed to come to such a pass.
The condition of roads in the countryside is even more worse. Even the districts bordering Srinagar like Pulwama, Ganderbal and Budgam have pathetic roads. Just a trip to Gulmarg, Sonamarg, Pahalgam or Dodhpathri is enough to gauge the condition of roads right now. Imagine the plight of the patients moving into the city from peripheral districts of the valley. These are the roads that are there right under the gaze of media. Imagine the plight of roads in the frontier districts of Kashmir. How would a patient from Kupwara reach Srinagar during peak hours?
One popular joke on the social media says that potholes have brought uniformity to all regions of the city. There is no A+ category areas and no B_ areas. All areas have potholes which are menacingly wide and big. Right from the VIP roads to the roads where undisguised commoners walk potholes rule the roost. For one year the entire Srinagar city is riddled with potholes which remind us of pre-democracy days.
The irony is that all this is happening during peak election time. What can a politician promise to people when he himself drives through the pothole-ridden roads of his constituency. The establishment of the governor is asleep over the plight of passengers on the roads. What if a distance of five kilometers takes one hour? The administration is just not bothered.
We can only hope that with the shifting of Darbar to Srinagar things will improve. There is a lot that Roads and Buildings Department(R&B) has to attain. We can only hope and pray that it is not just another shoddy patchwork but instead concrete measures are taken to rid the roads of Srinagar from the dreaded potholes.