Akhran da mureed
The only surface link to this remote landlocked area passes over 10,000-ft high Nastha Chun Pass and with the winter season just around the corner people here have already been suffering on account of bad connectivity.
Harsh weather has triggered landslides in the area, blocking the only lifeline to the remote area.
Following overnight rain in the region, the vehicular movement on the 70-km-long road between Karnah and district headquarter Kupwara was disrupted last afternoon. The road was blocked due to landslides about 10 km short of the Nastha Chun Pass, popularly known as the Sadhana Pass.
For Baseer Ahmad, a government employee who was travelling back from Jammu along with his two children, it was very difficult to wait for a couple of hours amid torrential rain and shivering cold till the road was cleared for traffic.
The stranded commuters had to wait for the men and machinery of the Beacon, looking after the road clearance operation, even as they rued the plight of the area.
Like many other residents of the area, Ahmad said a tunnel would help avoid such problem.
“There is still some time for winter season to set in, but the trouble for people has already started,” said another commuter.
“The Tangdhar-Kupwara-Handwara-Baramulla road has already been declared a national highway (NH-703), but it still awaits an upgrade,” said Raja Manzoor Ahmad, Member of Legislative Assembly from Karnah.
The legislator said the Government of India was interested in constructing a tunnel to provide all-weather connectivity to the area and believed that the work on it would start next year.
Officials confirmed that the Border Road Organisation had plans to construct a tunnel connecting Karnah, but said there was no word on its commissioning yet.
“The road on this side of the pass has not witnessed any development, which often leads to problems,” alleged Safeer Ahmad Khan of Tangdhar.
Road tiles had been laid on a 5-km stretch from the Nastha Chun Pass, but no work has been carried out on the 20-km road beyond that point, said Khan.
At times, the road remains blocked for weeks due to heavy snowfall, affecting the supply of essential commodities.