Snow clearance work on Mughal Road goes on war footing with Apr 18 deadline

Snow clearance work in progress on Mughal Road in Poonch. -Excelsior/Ramesh Bali
Snow clearance work in progress on Mughal Road in Poonch. -Excelsior/Ramesh Bali

J&K Admn to push supplies to Kashmir via Rajouri-Poonch

Gopal Sharma
JAMMU, Apr 7: The J&K Union Territory Administration has fixed April 18 as deadline to clear the snow from Mughal Road and make it traffic worthy to the Mughal Road Division of the R&B department, as Administration is facing hardships to push essential supplies to Kashmir valley through the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway via Ramban.

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Official sources told the Excelsior that snow clearance work is being carried out at war footing on historic Mughal Road between Shopian in Kashmir and Bafliaz in Poonch district of Jammu region for the last about three days. Machines have been deployed on both the sides of the Pir Panchal mountains and large portion of the road is said to have been cleared by the agency.
Sources revealed that stress was laid on the early clearance of Mughal Road by clearing snow after the main Jammu-Srinagar National Highway remained blocked for about 16 days during last month. The Chief Secretary, J&K UT last week in a high level meeting had asked the R&B authorities for the early clearance of Mughal Road so that supplies to Kashmir valley do not get affected. He maintained that due to four lanning of Jammu-Srinagar National Highway, the traffic often remains disrupted in Ramban sector. Due to this, landslides are taking place frequently and movement of vehicles on the highway gets disrupted. Mughal Road would provide alternate passage to Kashmir for the flow of goods via Rajouri and Poonch, he maintained.
Inspector General of Police (Traffic), J&K, T Namgyal when contacted said it will be better if there is alternative to Kashmir. Every body knows about the trouble in Ramban sector of the National Highway. Though it remained blocked for one week recently, but it is now operational. The NHAI has been asked by the Government to improve the road but work on Mughal Road has also been expedited for early clearance.
Liaqat Ali, Executive Engineer, Mughal Road when contacted said that six machines have been deployed on Mughal Road for slow clearance work. He said the work is being carried out on war footings on day-night basis, following instructions from the top in the J&K UT. In view of more trouble in Ramban sector of the National Highway these days, the Government has asked for early clearance of the Mughal Road which is an alternative route to Kashmir valley.
Ali further disclosed that though snow is more than four to five feet at some places and rain and fresh snowfall often occurs but even about 36 kms road stretch between Heerpora and Behramgalla has been cleared. “The snow cutters have reached Poshana on Poonch side and by April 18, we are hopeful of road clearance and restoration of traffic as per our resolve. The weather should remain favourable and we are hopeful of meeting the deadline,” the Xen said.
SSP Poonch, Ramesh Angral said there is heavy snow in Pir Ki Gali area of the Mughal Road and hardly few days ago, there was fresh snowfall and rain. But since the main Jammu-Srinagar National Highway remains closed for days together, thus affecting normal and essential supplies to Kashmir valley, the Government has directed for the early clearance of Mughal Road. He said the work is being carried out with great pace and the senior officers of the Administration and R&B were monitoring the ongoing work on day-today basis. He said a long patch has been cleared so far and remaining work is also expected to be completed in next 8-10 days. Angral said from Shopian side also the progress of work was excellent. The Sector Officer of the Traffic Police, SDM and SDPO Surankote were closely monitoring the work, the SSP added.
It is pertinent to mention here that Mughal Road remains closed for about four months between December and April and opens in first or second week of May. Due to absence of a tunnel this road could not be made trafficable round the year. Though the tunnel has been sanctioned by the Union Government but the work could not be started so far. It is expected to be launched during this financial year, the sources maintained.