Highway closed again

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Summer is just round the corner. However, the Srinagar-Jammu National Highway, which is again closed after fresh landslides, gives out a grimy winter like feeling. The highway closed in the middle of almost what can be called as early summer. That does not augur well for the economy of Kashmir. Whatsoever little number of tourists who have dodged terse travel advisories by coming to Kashmir would be scared away by the landslides hitting the highway day in and day out? The adding of three more lanes to the almost one-lane highway is taking its toll. We are hauling out the underbelly of mountains and they are succumbing upon us amidst downpour. It seems to be an endless saga.

Currently it is affecting Kashmir badly as the apples in the cold storage in north and south Kashmir are stranded because the highway is closed. The prices of vegetables, fruits, chicken and mutton are shooting up. It again shows the lack of production in Kashmir and the fact how joyfully we allowed ourselves to be consumers of what others produce. Now that the highway is closed we are not receiving the supplies and it is resulting in undue hoarding. Sometimes, it is beyond belief how administration is toying with the eight million population of the Kashmir valley. Amazingly, we ourselves gave way to sloth and inactivity. It has come to such a pass that we are dependent on other regions of state even for the vegetables considered local and staple for us. Our rice fields are getting rapidly converted into orchards for cash crops. We are earning lots of money and then giving it away to consume things which people from other states produce.

However, with tourism down already if the present state of the highway prolongs and the apple crop in the cold storage does not timely reach its intended market, then it is going to be a year of severe distress for our economy. The government has time and again been reminded of the fact that an alternate highway is the need of the hour but the government for some strange reasons often thinks of it as a needless exercise.

Eight million souls continue to suffer and not a leaf is ruffled. This shows how important our well being is for the establishment.

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