Srinagar, Mar 07: National Conference (NC) President and Member of Parliament from Srinagar Dr. Farooq Abdullah Monday underlined the urgency of better road connectivity in J&K, saying better surface connectivity facilities in a mosaic of geographical diversity, hilly and inaccessible terrains, remoteness of areas and weather vagaries should be accorded precedency.
This, he said, while interacting with a people’s delegation that called on him at his Srinagar residence earlier today. The visiting delegation, headed by Wali Muhammad Rather had come from Marwah-Dachan, District Kishtwar.
According to a statement, the visiting delegation apprised the party president about a plethora of issues concerning their region, particularly the delay in the construction of Chenger (Marwah)- Bonda (Chatroo), Dangduru to Hanzal tunnels in Kishtwar. The delegation members said that work on all major road and tunnel projects in Chenab has been put into cold storage.
Local populace, they noted, are suffering on different accounts due to the absence of all-weather connectivity with nearby district headquarters and other major townships and cities. The construction of tunnels in the region, the delegation members said, will provide a new lease of life to the far-flung region. The delegation members also said that absence of round the year surface connectivity in Marwah -Dachan area has severely impacted the development prospects, ease of living, and availability of public utility services in the far-flung region.
Echoing the sentiments of the visiting delegation, Dr. Farooq said that the necessity of tunnels, culverts, bridges and roads is central to development of any region. “There has been a longstanding demand for construction of Sadhna Pass, Z Morh, Simthan-Deksum, Chenger (Marwah)- Bonda (Chatroo), Dangduru to Hanzal tunnels. A few projects were lately taken up by the GOI owing to their strategic importance but unfortunately many other such projects are still awaiting a go-ahead from the government,” he said.
The significance of tunnels in J&K is due to its ability to provide round the year connectivity in a geographically arduous and diverse region of ours. “Such tunnels will drastically reduce the travel time and also provide a safe passage from weather vagaries. Such projects also generate employment opportunities for locals by helping locally grown agriculture produce reach nearest Mandis on time. Better surface transportation networks will also boost the tourism sector in the region. Clamour for the construction of Pir Panjal – Shopian, Simthan Deksum, Sadhna Pass and various other regional tunnels in Chenab, Pir Panjal are getting louder, and genuinely so,” he added.
Expressing concord with the demands of the visiting delegation members on the issue, Dr. Farooq said that he will take up the issue with the concerned ministry and also voice the delegation’s concerns in the Lok Sabha.
He also assured the visiting delegation members that holistic development of Chenab, and Pir Panjal is high on the party agenda, adding that much of the surface connectivity in the region had come up during the successive NC led governments.
He also assured the visiting delegation that he will get in touch with the divisional administration Jammu to bring home to them the issues brought up by the delegation members with respect to poor public utility services, health services, education infrastructure and shortfall of stock position of edibles in the far-flung region.