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Jammu Kashmir

Posted at: May 16, 2019, 6:36 AM; last updated: May 16, 2019, 7:03 AM (IST)

Truckers feel pinch of repeated NH closure

Say restrictions leading to business loss, accuse cops of harassment
Truckers feel pinch of repeated NH closure
Repeated closures are having a damaging effect on the transportation of essential goods. File photo

Sumit Hakhoo

Tribune News Service

Jammu, May 15

The four-laning of the strategic 300-km Jammu-Srinagar national highway and restrictions imposed by the government post the Pulwama attack are threatening to end the decades-old supply-chain network in the state.

The repeated closures are also having a damaging effect on transporters carrying essential commodities as mismanagement on the part of the traffic department and administration has ensured that truckers remain stuck for days on the highway.

From Nagrota to Udhampur, vehicles can be found parked for several kilometers every day. This being an unorganised sector, most of the drivers and helpers are feeling frustrated.

For the last three years, thousands of trucks involved in carrying essential commodities, construction material and fuel from Jammu to Srinagar and beyond to the Ladakh division are facing daily harassment on the road.

“Drivers and helpers are facing untold miseries. The established system of supply chain is under threat. The government has failed to evolve a mechanism to streamline the traffic. For days, vehicles remain stuck due to closure of the road,” said Haaris Singh, senior member of the J&K Oil Tankers’ Association, which supplies fuel to all parts of J&K, including defence installations.

Truckers say they face a loss of time and money as earlier they used to take maximum three trips in a month ferrying essential commodities but now, a single trip takes them at least a week.

“We are always at the receiving end. The traffic police harass us on the highway and we are stopped after every few kilometers. We are treated badly by the authorities as if we are criminals,” said Darshan Lal, a who drives vehicles carrying poultry consignments to the Valley.

However, Senior Superintendent of Police (national highway) Jitendar Singh Johar said the police ensured that trucks carrying perishable items were cleared on priority. “The highway is not functional due to regular landslides but still the traffic police are trying to minimise the problems. We try our best ensure that trucks don’t have to wait much.”

Stranded vehicles cleared

Banihal/Jammu: Thousands of stranded vehicles were cleared off the Jammu-Srinagar national highway on Wednesday despite rocks sliding intermittently from a hillock overlooking the strategic road, officials said. The highway was reopened for vehicles early Wednesday after a 15-hour clearance operation but a fresh slide and intermittent shooting of stones hampered the movement of traffic, the officials said. PTI

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