Trucks on Sgr-Jmu NH made to halt for days at Qazigund Toll Plaza

Trucks stranded at Toll Plaza Qazigund. —Excelsior/Sajad Dar
Trucks stranded at Toll Plaza Qazigund. —Excelsior/Sajad Dar

Fruit-laden trucks suffering damage, officials unmoved

Fayaz Bukhari

Srinagar, Sept 19: The drivers including the tourists are facing a tough time as they have to wait for hours to pass through Toll Plaza at Qazigund. They expressed their anguish over the absence of basic facilities at the toll plaza.
The situation for the truck drivers who are mostly carrying stock of apples out of Kashmir is quite difficult as they allege that they are made to halt for days together at the Toll Plaza due to which they are suffering.
“We thought that with the improvement in the condition of the road along with the opening up of the tunnel, the travel would become easier, but things seem to have deteriorated as it takes days for us to reach Jammu via Srinagar-Jammu National Highway,” said Rafaqat Ahmad who has been stuck at the toll plaza Qazigund for the last 3 days.
The truck drivers stuck at the Toll Plaza said that taking up Mughal Road for their journey to Jammu seems to be a better option than plying on the National Highway as they do not encounter such halts there.
They also criticised the National Highway Authority of India for turning travel on the National Highway into a nightmare.
“The tunnel that has been created has not turned out to be of any use for us; it has not relieved us from the traffic woes that we face; the Mughal Road is better than this,” the drivers said.
Interestingly, a tourist who identified himself as Anil Kumar, also said that the duration of frequent halts is resulting in a waste of time.
“I have come here to enjoy, but the thing is that I am stuck here for the last more than 3 hours and there is no end to the halt yet; the situation was better earlier, this is sheer injustice,” he said.
Ishfaq Ahmad, another truck driver said that he has been waiting at the Toll Plaza for the last more than 6 hours and that they have not been told as to how much time would it take before they are allowed to finally move.
“The things are really bad even after having a tunnel which was stated to be a game-changer; the road ahead of the Qazigund Toll Plaza is also in a bad shape leading to frequent long halts,” he said, adding that the time of travel instead of coming down has gone up.
Rayees Ahmad, a truck driver from Anantnag carrying apple also said that he has been waiting for the last 2 days but has not so far been allowed to move ahead.
“A truck left with me and took the Mughal Road, while I am still stuck here, that truck has already crossed Jammu and is headed towards its destination,” he said.
The drivers also complained lack of basic facilities at the toll plaza and alleged that they are just minting money and are not putting in place arrangements for drinking water and lavatory.