Work on Mughal Road to Kashmir stopped

March 17th, 2008 - 11:16 am ICT by admin  

Jammu, March 17 (IANS) Work on the Mughal Road - an alternative route connecting Kashmir Valley with the rest of India besides the Jammu-Srinagar highway - has been stopped for over a month now, inviting the ire of politicians and the public. Officials say construction activity has been temporarily halted in view of the recent heavy snowfall.

This road, which offers another link to the valley, was taken up for construction when Mufti Mohammed Sayeed was chief minister in October 2005 after a long gap of more than two decades.

It was started in 1981, but work was suspended in 1985 owing to objections raised by the defence ministry over the strategic location of the road.

The route has been named Mughal Road as emperor Jehangir used to take this route to visit the valley with his wife Noor Jahan. It passes through the high point of 11,000 feet at Peer Ki Gali, a mountainous pass in the Pir Panjal range of the Himalayas.

Mohammad Ayub Shabnam, a People’s Democratic Party (PDP) leader from Surankote in Poonch district, had brought the halt in road construction activity to the notice of former chief minister Mufti Sayeed.

Ayub alleged the authorities had not explained the reasons for stopping work on the Mughal Road.

However, a senior officer of the Public Works Department (PWD) here said work had not been stopped. “It was due to heavy snowfall and the disturbed geological conditions at the moment that there is some disruption.”

He said that the road would be completed by the end of this year.

However, Ayub and others from the area say that the snow had melted long ago and the work had been stopped for other reasons that “we are not aware of”.

Mufti Sayeed has however assured Surankote residents that he will take up the matter with the government for resumption of the work without any delay.

It is a route that would help the people of Rajouri and Poonch districts in the north of Jammu reach the valley in a few hours. Otherwise, they have to first travel to Jammu to reach Kashmir via the existing Jammu-Srinagar highway, which often gets closed because of the vagaries of weather.

Mughal Road takes off from Bafliaz, about 200 km north of Jammu in Poonch district, and it ends in Shopian in south Kashmir.

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