Friday, June 24, 2011

Mughal Road

Mughal Road completion likely in March 2013

The multi-crore Mughal Road project, which had already received two extensions is now expected to be completed in March 2013, as the work on various bridges being constructed on difficult terrains is yet to be completed.The 84 kms long Mughal Road, connecting Kashmir valley with Jammu province of which 40 km falls inside valley and 44 km falls under wildlife sanctuary in Jammu province was proposed to be completed in March 2009, but due to difficult topographic terrains and un-favourable weather conditions, the project could not be completed on time and it was now expected that entire project would be completed within two years.

A senior official working on the road project told the Kashmir Times that more than Rs 253.26 crores have been spent on the construction of the road project so far and efforts are being made to construct a parallel road line to Srinagar-Jammu national high way which usually remains blocked most of the time during winters.

MoS Roads and Building Javid Ahmad Dar told reporters during his inspection of the project that the state government decided to re-construct the traditional road with the twin objectives of including the Pir Panjal range in the tourist map and utilize the road as parallel road to 300 kms long Srinagar Jammu highway, which is often closed due to avalanches and landslides causing inconvenience to people.

The minister defended the delay in the completion of the road project saying that un favourable weather and some legal obligations are largely responsible for delay in completion of road project. However, he expressed his hope that the entire project would be completed till March 2013. Even though, the project has not been completed, some light vehicles are plying every day between Shopian and Rajouri and people are anxiously waiting for plying of heavy vehicles to supply apples, the main product exported from south Kashmir, particular from Shopian and Pulwama districts.Similarly, people from Rajouri and other mountainous districts of Jammu region are thinking on similar lines. They are hoping that large number of tourists will prefer to visit through this traditional road considering its natural beauty and natural waterfalls. The state government has already made it clear that some tourist development authorities would be established in various places for better infrastructure for the national and international tourists. They are hoping that Mughal Road will generate employment avenues for people in these areas and would uplift their economic status.The importance of the old Mughal Road is that it was the only entry point to the Kashmir Valley in medieval period. The road was traversed by the caravans of the Mughal emperors to help them enter the Kashmir Valley. It was this road that Akbar had used in 1586 to conquer Kashmir.

The work on the road began after the former Chief Minister Sheikh Abdullah conceived the idea but was suspended in 1979. However, the road was still used by the Gujjar community as they trek to the high altitude areas during summers.

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