JK News Today

Amir Tantray

Jammu, April 13: Since the government of India is focusing on improving the surface connectivity and Jammu and Kashmir is also getting focus in this sector, commuting on existing Batote to Pul Doda stretch of Batote-Kishtwar national highway has become difficult.

The National Highway Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited (NHIDCL) has left this highway on the mercy of God with no focus being given on improving its condition.

Recently the union minister for surface transport and highways Nitin Gadkari spelt out his plans to lay the network of new roads and tunnels in Jammu and Kashmir so that every area become easily accessible. But NHIDCL officers in this union territory seem to be keeping him in dark about the hardships being faced by people on internal highways.

The 110-km-long Batote-Kishtwar national highway has always remained prone to accidents as people have to avoid curves and tough terrain while driving on this highway. As the 60-km-long stretch of this highway from Pul Doda to Kishtwar is under construction and widening work is in progress, which is expected to be completed in a year or two, Batote to Pul Doda stretch has been left unattended.

“Right from Batote towards Pul Doda potholes are everywhere and at times avoiding these potholes becomes difficult which can lead to accident also. Vehicles also get damaged due to the poor condition and overall people suffer a lot,” said Bhushan Kumar, a bus driver who is a regular traveller on this highway.

The NHIDCL is focusing on new highway being built on Khellani-Marmat-Sudhmahadev-Chenani circuit on which a tunnel is also being constructed to bypass the existing Batote-Pul Doda stretch. But thousands of people live on both banks of river Chenab from Batote to Pul Doda and even if new highway is constructed, they will have to travel on existing highway.

Even after many attempts no NHIDCL official was available for comments.