Experts and residents say unplanned cutting of hills and dumping the debris along the Jammu-Srinagar highway was causing frequent landslides and massive traffic jams compounded by bad traffic management.
A former revenue official told Greater Kashmir that contractors and executing companies have sublet the road excavation works in between Udhampur and Banihal town in violation of the rules and the hills were being cut without making steps as mandated.
“Because the contractors are cutting the hills in an unplanned manner, the Udhampur-Ramban and Ramban-Banihal stretches of the highway have become prone to landslides and shooting stones.
And during rainy days, the road often remains closed or congested due to landslides,” he said.
The other reason behind the traffic snarls on the highway, according to him, was the throwing of the excavated debris close along the double-lane highway.
“Earlier, the traffic department would allow the movement of trucks only during the night hours. But now, the trucks ply even during the day time. It adds to already worsening traffic scenario on the highway,” said Shahbaz Sheikh, who lives in Banihal close to the highway
Shahbaz also cites non-availability of safety staff near some of the excavation sites as another reason behind the hours-long traffic jams.
Another Ramban resident, Ashok Singh believes the traffic police nakas at inappropriate places on the highway from Banihal to Ramban also add to traffic woes on the Jammu-Srinagar highway.—GK