All weather Mughal Road

Despite several measures taken and being taken by the Government in attempting to keep Srinagar – Jammu National Highway motor(able) throughout the year, sporadic landslides caused due to inclement weather conditions, it has remained more of a dream than a reality. Agreed, that tunnels like Banihal Qazigund Road tunnel under construction presently and Chenani Nashri Road tunnel already opened for traffic have resulted into not only ensuring the National Highway remaining operational now more than before but still the entire area being mountainous with many slippery and shooting stone zones, problems do exist especially during snowfalls. Mughal Road was envisaged to address this problem as this road was thought to be an alternative to the Jammu -Srinagar National Highway in moments of temporary but hassles full troubles as via Poonch it was touching South Kashmir’s Shopian district and thus arrival in Kashmir valley from where capital Srinagar is just an hour’s drive.
This road, despite several assurances and plans formulated, has remained an unfulfilled promise and a pending project warranting some extra push from and interest by the Government which could surmount and resolve several hitches and overcome many humps in the process of making this road operational. The main problem requiring resolution is construction of 8 kilometres tunnel from Chattapani – Zaznar area and since the year 2013 when Jammu and Kashmir Roads Development Department proposed construction of this tunnel, things are not moving in the direction kindling the hope of its early approval and starting of the work on the important project.It is reported that the Union Ministry of Roads and Transport has not taken a positive favourable decision so far. The previous elected Government of PDP – BJP coalition had, developing of this road on their agenda of priority but after that Government fell, Governor’s administration invited proposals for widening of this road but nothing concrete appears to have been done in respect of thereof.
Is it due to some strategic reasons that the Union Ministry of Roads and Transport, otherwise having made its impact on quality and quantity performance in roads, tunnels and similar infrastructural constructions, has not been according its approval? Is it, perhaps, because of lackadaisical approach by the UT Government towards not putting forth its case properly before the Union Ministry in respect of viability and feasibility of the proposed project and convincing as to how this road could prove as a reliable alternative to Jammu- Srinagar National Highway besides relieving it from the heavy pressure of traffic movement day and night. Therefore, the immediate step needing to be taken in this respect is to up-grade the status of this road from the present to National Highway which would on its own, bring with it the desired attention it required in terms of developing it to fit into a parallel and an alternative to the only road link, the valley of Kashmir was having with rest of the country.
We understand that some preliminary and elementary works like appointing a consultant and undertaking an exercise in making preliminary project report in respect of feasibility etc have been done but the main and the major aspect of the entire project, that of approvals continues to keep it in a status of animation. People of Pir Panchal range and South Kashmir, in particular, have been looking at this road with hopes of better connectivity, assured connectivity and bettering of economic prospects. At the moment, with lot of requisite infrastructural development continuously taking place on Jammu – Srinagar National Highway, it appears that in the very near future nothing substantial was going to take place in respect of Mughal Road unless the Government makes its stand very clear to ward off any speculations.