Beacon, the pioneer project of the Border Road Organisation (BRO) in the state, has come under fire from people in twin districts Reasi and Udhampur due to its alleged lackadaisical approach in upgrading the 27km Katra-Reasi road and for failing to improve the condition of Dhar road in Udhampur.
Residents of the twin districts, who are up in arms against the Beacon authorities have threatened to intensify their agitation if the situation does not improve in a week's time.
Hundreds of Reasi residents held a protest at Sulla Reasi and blocked the Katra-Reasi road. Raising anti-Beacon slogans, a local, Kuldeep Singh, alleged that the widening of the Katra-Reasi road has been started by Beacon more than eight years ago, but after completing 13km the work is going on at a snail's pace. He added that the widening of the remaining stretch has been completed but due to apathy of Beacon and administration, the road is not being black-topped, which is giving nightmares to commuters and tourist visiting here. He said urgent repair and black-topping could put an end to woes of travelers.
The condition of the Reasi-Dharmari road, which is a vital link in the Mahore area, is also in a dilapidated for over a decade. Residents said after the failure of the R&B department in repairing the road, the work was handed over to Beacon but the lackadaisical approach of the latter did not end their problems.
"It is a back-breaking journey on a dilapidated road to reach Reasi from Katra. The road is dotted with potholes," said Jagdish Singh, a commuter. The stretch, which connects the pilgrim destinations of Nav Davia, Dhansar Baba, Dera Baba and Shiv Khori is in a dilapidated condition.
"The stretch is in a bad shape and it takes hours to cross it, which otherwise could be covered in 20 minutes from the Katra base camp of Mata Vaishno Devi.
Expressing concern over the working of Beacon, Udhampur residents also held a protest outside the Beacon office at Dhar road and raised anti-Beacon slogans demanding immediate repair of Dhar road. Protesters led by Bhaujan Party leader Ranjit singh and Dhanter Singh alleged that due to apathetic attitude of Beacon, the national highway from Rehmbal to Patnitop and Dhar road are in a dilapidated condition. They alleged that repeated requests to the authorities concerned have had no effect.