Facing criticism for banning the civilian traffic from dusk till dawn for two days every week, the J&K government on Friday said that patients, students, government employees and those in “emergencies” will be allowed to use the national highway during the ban.
“There are some exceptions and we have discussed it with concerned deputy commissioners as well. There will be exceptions like hospitals, schools, business establishments falling on the highway, the agriculture land or horticulture orchards. There could be a spontaneous emergency as well. In such cases, we have told the deputy commissioners how to regulate,” Divisional Commissioner Kashmir Baseer Ahmad Khan said during a press conference on Friday. “People think it is a complete ban and there will be no movement on the highway. It is not like that. We want to clarify that some categories have been exempted in the ban.”
To facilitate the movement of security convoys, government has banned civilian traffic twice a week (from 4 am to 5 pm on Sunday and Wednesday) on the 270-km national highway stretch from Udhampur in Jammu to Baramulla in Kashmir. The decision led to a public outrage in valley. Khan also said since there is huge troop movement due to elections, there was an apprehension that public will be inconvenienced at the crossings , thus the decision to stop civil traffic twice a week was taken.