Thursday, January 23, 2020

Roads or Death traps?

One rain is all it takes to show how incompetent the Jammu Municipal Corporation is. No drainage system on sides of roads makes it a living hell during monsoons. Moreover, one doesn’t mind the occasional potholes if one can see them and avoid them at will. It is something that every driver in the city has gotten accustomed to even if they shouldn’t have to. People in J&K, in fact, in India believe that potholes on the roads are part of their lives. It is something that is impossible to avoid. But a few hours of heavy rain damages the roads in such a way that the potholes get worse and one cannot even see what they are driving over. The lack of proper drainage combined with damaged roads makes driving in the rain no less than a herculean task.

Though the ones driving cars are least impacted by it, bearing only the damages to the exterior of their cars, the ones riding a bike or scooter end up hurting themselves. One such incident was seen today near Canal Road, Jammu. But it isn’t a new instance. That is something Canal Road is already famous for – its non-existent roads that turn into a pond during monsoons. If the situation is so critical in the heart of the city, one can only imagine what the peripheries are like. Various governments have not been able to provide the most basic facility of “road” to the people living in the urban area. Then how can the people living in rural Jammu and Kashmir expect macadamized roads and good connectivity?

The roads of Ramban, Kishtwar, Doda, Reasi, Rajouri and Poonch are death traps. But as the monsoon season comes, even the Samba, Kathua, Jammu roads are not going to be free from accidents. Accidents that are solely the fault of J&K administration. Why has there never been an enquiry against the Chief Engineers and contractors who use substandard material in constructing roads? Why isn’t there a planned approach to undertaking construction work where drainage and road safety measures are appropriately managed as well? One can see the current construction work on Akhnoor Highway and how troublesome it has become for commuters to travel on that road. Construction of a big road stretch often takes years, but even after crores of money is spent and people suffer from inconvenience during the years of construction, the true picture of the quality of road becomes evident within a few months. Development is only possible if instead of fighting on “Have and Have not”, people raise questions on the quality of what they have as well. A road that is constructed but ends up taking the lives of people is no better than a road that is basically a path paved by commuters themselves. It is the people who, instead of accustoming themselves with the existing situation and assuming bad roads and potholes as an unquestionable reality should raise their voices against it.

It is the common people who pay Road Tax, Toll Tax, just for ensuring they get to travel on good roads. But despite their compliance with every law and rule, they must suffer in their everyday lives because of the non-serious attitude of every governing body.


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