The Border Roads Organisation has declared the entire 30 km long road between Assar and Pul Doda as unsafe saying that Chenab waters stored after the construction of Baglihar dam have started weakening lose soil rocks along the road stretch which forms part of the Batote-Doda national highway 1A in Jammu and Kashmir.
Sources said that during survey of the highway,after a part of it sunk four days ago,the BRO officials noticed minor sinking of the road at some places especially Khoda Pani and Neebli. Accordingly,they conveyed the matter to the administration,saying that the road cannot provide connectivity to both Doda and Kishtwar districts for long. With river waters continuously eroding the lose soil along the road,its vulnerability to landslides and sinking will further increase during rainy season in future,they pointed out.
Following this,the administration has asked the BRO to press its men and machinery to clear the road connecting Bhaderwah in Doda district with Bani in Kathua district of snow at the earliest. This,sources said,is aimed at providing an alternate road link to both Doda and Kishtwar districts and to ensure them supply of essential commodities from Kathua.
Though BRO officials deny it,well placed sources in the administration said that the engineers having conducted survey of the road have pointed out a number of points along this 30 kms road stretch between Assar and Pul Doda which are vulnerable to landslides. As such,the state government has decided to approach Geological Survey of India to conduct detailed survey of the entire 30 km road stretch between Assar and Pul Doda,sources said.
Quoting BRO officials,a top official in the administration said that if weather remains favourable,the Bani-Bhaderwah road will be cleared of snow within a week. This will at least ensure uninterrupted supply of essential commodities to Doda and Kishtwar districts,he pointed out.
Until the Geological Survey of India conducts a survey and suggests an alternate road link to both the districts,sources said that efforts are afoot to carve out an alternate four km long road from Assar side to provide road connectivity to both Doda and Kishtwar. However,the government will have to find out an alternate road link to both the districts as the widening of the present alignment,which has already been funded by the Centre will not be possible in view of continuous weakening of rocks river waters flowing along its side,sources pointed out.
Officials in the administration say that there has not been any scarcity of essentials as both the twin districts,which remain cut off by road from rest of the state for the last four days,have enough stocks for at least one month. The essential supplies like LPG are being trans-shipped through the damaged stretch of road by engaging labourers,they pointed out,adding that Indian Air Force is also being approached for airlifting the supplies to these two cut off districts.
Meanwhile,the sinking of road has started taking political hues in Jammu and Kashmir,with opposition PDP demanding alternate connectivity to the area from Kashmir Valley on the pattern of Mughal road. Another opposition party BJP has demanded judicial probe by a sitting Supreme Court judge to inquire into all the aspects of survey,sanction,allotment of contract and execution of Baglihar hydel project,saying that it has proved to be a disaster for the people,ecology and environment of the area.