In the good old days, the administration which included district police and traffic police would always be well prepared to address the issues arising out of blockade of Srinagar-Jammu highway, particularly in the winter months.

Even a moderate snowfall around Jawahar tunnel and landslides between Banihal and Ramban would automatically invite the presence of a senior police officer in the problematic area to coordinate efforts of the traffic police and district police for the restoration of road connectivity and lessening the problems of stranded people.  Same would hold good for the civil administration.

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This winter something unusual happened and continues to happen. Hundreds of vehicles, light and medium, carrying men, women, children, and babies have been found stranded on different days with very less effort from the administration to mitigate their sufferings.

A glaring example of lack of coordination and mismanagement of traffic was seen on December 30 when traffic was rescheduled and allowed to ply from Srinagar to Jammu. A sizable number of passenger vehicles private and public could not go beyond Lower Munda because of accumulation of snow around Jawahar Tunnel and landslides between Banihal and Ramban. However, as could be made out from the videos and pictured uploaded on social media, there is something more which meets the eye and allowing of traffic, mostly the heavy vehicles, from opposite side created unprecedented jams resulting in total stoppage of the moment of vehicles.

It is reported that there was none from police and also administration side to decide as to what should be done to ensure a hassle-free movement of traffic. Resultantly, hundreds of people including women, children and babies had to stay in their vehicles for one full day and one night in sub-zero temperatures. The situation was reported to be horrible on this stretch of road on that day.

It would be in the public interest if traffic police wake up to the situation by actually managing the traffic on the ground and not through social media from cosy offices. Special emphasis would need to be laid on coordination between different units charged with the responsibility of managing traffic on this strategic highway. Civil administration would also need to sharpen its response to ensure lessening of problems of stranded passengers and route.

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