Curbs on civilian traffic lifted, northern part of NH 44 thrown open
On April 7, the movement of civilian traffic along the highway from Baramulla to Udhampur was restricted by the state for two days a week — Wednesday and Sunday – to allow free movement to security convoys on election duty.Updated: May 01, 2019 15:57 IST
Hindustan Times, Srinagar
The Jammu and Kashmir administration on Wednesday announced that it has completely lifted the restrictions on civilian traffic movement on the northern part of national highway NH-44.
“The restriction on civilian movement between Srinagar and Baramulla on NH-44 will be completely lifted from May 2. There will be no prohibition on civilian traffic in this stretch on Sunday or Wednesday,” said a government spokesperson in a statement.
On April 7, the movement of civilian traffic along the highway from Baramulla to Udhampur was restricted by the state for two days a week — Wednesday and Sunday – to allow free movement to security convoys on election duty.
The decision had created a furore in the Kashmir valley with many criticising the order as ‘colonial’.
Almost two weeks later on April 20, the administration rolled back the restrictions partially, from two days to one on the 100-km stretch from north Kashmir’s Baramulla to capital Srinagar. The state is under president’s rule since December 20 and is being administered by governor Satya Pal Malik.
“These restrictions became necessary following the large movement of security forces on an unprecedented scale after the Pulwama terror attack. These forces were required both for anti-militancy operations and for conducting the general elections peacefully,” the spokesperson said.
On February 14, a suicide bomber had rammed his car into a security convoy in Pulwama district on the highway killing 40 CRPF personnel and bringing India and Pakistan to the brink of war. Following the tension, the general elections across India including in J&K were announced in March.
“After successful polling in Anantnag and Kulgam districts and as the requirement of security forces was now reducing as they were de-inducted, the government has decided to further relax the restrictions,” the statement said.
However, the government said that the restrictions will continue on the 200-km Srinagar-Udhampur stretch of highway falling in south Kashmir and beyond.
“The restrictions would continue between Srinagar and Udhampur on NH-44 as earlier. However, these would be reviewed periodically and relaxation would be made as the need for restriction reduces,” the government said.
It said that the local administration would continue to facilitate movement of civilian traffic as has been happening so far, including by allowing public transport of JKSRTC to move during the period of restriction on the NH.
Baramulla, Srinagar and two districts of Anantnag in the Kashmir valley voted on April 11, 18, 23 and 29. Voting in Pulwama and Shopian districts of Anantnag seat and Ladakh Lok Sabha constituency will take place in the fifth phase on May 6.
First Published: May 01, 2019 15:57 IST