“Situation on NH-44 to normalize soon”
Srinagar, July 10: The Divisional Commissioner Kashmir, Baseer Ahmad Khan, today said that there is no ban on travel on the National Highway but admitted that there are restrictions on movement of civilians vehicles during the movement of Shri Amarnath Yatra convoys.
Addressing a press conference here this morning, Khan said that traffic on the highway is being regulated as per traffic advisory. “Let me clarify that there is no blanket ban anywhere on highway. We are only using regulations keeping in view the traffic advisory. The convoy is long and there are two-three concerns. The condition of the highway is bad and if blockage happens, people will face problems. Keeping in view these problems we have kept slots during the day for the movement of yatra convoy. There is no blanket ban but restrictions for a short period has been put in place and the civilian movement resumes after that ends,” he added.
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The Divisional Commissioner said that initially tour operators expressed concern but that have been addressed. “Senior police officers man the traffic at Pantha Chowk where people are allowed after necessary verification. Initially, some people, especially tour operators expressed concern of unnecessary stoppages. After the issues were raised, I met various tour and travel operators who raised questions and travel plan were agreed upon by them. Routes have been identified and timings have been given”, he said.
Khan said that during the restriction period they ensure that no student misses the college or school. “Even during the restriction, we are facilitating people on a case-case basis so that people can reach work. No students have missed school or college day”, he added.
The Divisional Commissioner said that there was huge rush of yatris for first two weeks and now it has started coming down and traffic situation will also come back to normal. “In the first two weeks there is a huge rush of yatris with nearly 3000 vehicles traveling to Kashmir on daily basis. In such situation if restrictions are not placed the whole traffic would come to a grinding halt. To avoid hassles, and ensure the smooth flow of traffic, regulations are needed so that everybody reaches their destinations on time. Now the number of yaris has decreased and everything will be back to normal in a few days”, he said.
The Inspector General of Police Kashmir, S P Pani said that traffic is allowed at 12 noon towards Jammu. “If you are traveling to Jammu they allow you after 12. If we get clearance from the Ramban unit we allow traffic early. We have clarified it earlier as well if there is any change in the regulations we convey it to the hoteliers, travel agents and transporters. In Srinagar city, we try to continue the same”, he added.
Pani said that these traffic regulations are on for last two years. “Same regulations implemented last year as well. In fact, they are in place for the last two years. Only the timeline has changed. This year regulations have been put in place 3-hours earlier. This depends on the traffic scenario and security consideration is a paramount factor for all. The highway is an infested area so the threat is always there. The highways regulations are implemented keeping in view all the factors.