SRINAGAR: The JKPCC and CPI(M) Thursday demanded immediate revocation of the order banning movement of civilian traffic on the Jammu-Kashmir highway for two days a week, saying the move would "add to the miseries" of people.
Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Congress Committee (JKPCC) vice-president G N Monga said the party understands the security concern, but that does not mean people will be left to suffer.
According to the order issued on Wednesday by state Home Secretary Shaleen Kabra, no civilian traffic will be allowed to move from Baramulla in north Kashmir to Udhampur in Jammu region on Sundays and Wednesdays till May 31.
The restrictions on civilian traffic on the 271-km highway will remain in force from 4 am to 5 pm, said the order, which follows the suicide attack on a CRPF convoy in Pulwama. The highway passes through important towns such as Anantnag, Awantipora, Pampore, Srinagar, Pattan and Baramulla.
"The ban will add to the miseries of common people who are already suffering immensely due to the prevailing situation in the state," Monga told reporters. He said, "There must be other methods which can ensure the safety of security convoys, but it should not be done at the cost of a lot of inconvenience to the common people".
The Congress leader appealed to the Centre and Jammu and Kashmir Governor S P Malik to immediately revoke the order and find out an alternative.
"How will patients reach to hospitals during these two days of ban? How will employees reach to their offices and how will students attend schools and colleges. Stopping traffic for two days looks difficult to manage, because there will be lot of hue and cry," he said.
Senior CPI(M) leader and former MLA M Y Tarigami too asked the government to offer alternatives before imposing the ban.
"The decision must be a security issue, but why should a common man be put to avoidable hardships for whom all this security bandobast is meant?" Tarigami questioned.
In a statement issued here, the CPI(M) leader said, "What will be the fate of those patients, who have to be brought from the other districts of the Valley and need immediate treatment in hospitals in Srinagar? What kind of logic is this? A patient can't wait till a pass is issued, as in some cases it can prove disastrous and life-threatening." The former legislator from south Kashmir's Kulgam said the convoy movement timing must be devised in a way so as there is no inconvenience to the general public.
Meanwhile, the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) also demanded the order be revoked. KCCI president Sheikh Ashiq said the order was issued without considering its impact on the people of Kashmir and was indicative of the lack of awareness of local issues.
"At a time when the Kashmir Chamber has been raising the issue of lack of alternative routes and means of travel to Kashmir, the closure of the only available road link would put the whole population to unimaginable inconvenience and will have disastrous consequences for our economy," he said.
The decision to block the highway for two days has been taken to facilitate the unhindered movement of security forces' convoys to eliminate the possibility of fidayeen terror attacks during the ongoing poll process, the notification said.
In case of an emergency requiring the passage of a civilian vehicle, police and administrative officials will take appropriate decisions in line with the provisions for movement of civilian traffic during curfews, it added.