No civilian traffic was allowed on the national highway, the only all weather road connecting Kashmir valley with the rest of the country on Wednesday due to ban imposed by the authorities to allow free and secure movement of security force convoy.
However, the authorities have announced to lift the ban on civilian traffic movement from next week though ban will continue on Sunday on the highway. Ban on civilian traffic has already been lifted on Srinagar-Baramulla highway.
The authorities imposed ban on the highway between Baramulla in north Kashmir to Udhampur in Jammu twice in a week on Sunday and Wednesday after 44 CRPF personnel were killed in a Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) fidayeen attack in February this year at Awantipora. Later unsuccessful attempt was made to target security force convoy at Jawhar tunnel.
A traffic police official told UNI that today was security force convoy day. No movement of any king of public vehicle will be allowed on the highway from Udhampur towards Srinagar and vice versa, he said.
An official spokesman said the Government has been reviewing the restrictions imposed earlier this month on civilian movement on the highway connecting Jammu to Srinagar with a view to balancing the security needs of Forces’ Convoys with the need for minimising public inconvenience.
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 general elections peacefully.
He said in order to facilitate secure movement of Security Forces’ Convoys, the Government had imposed a prohibition on civilian traffic on highway from Baramulla to Udhampur twice a week, i.e. on Sunday & Wednesday, from 0400 hrs to 1700 hrs. Elaborate arrangements were, however, made by the local administration to facilitate movement of public during the period of restriction.
Earlier, the restriction on civilian movement between Srinagar and Baramulla on the highway was reduced only to Sunday with effect from April 22, 2019 and later completely lifted from May 2, 2019.
He said the Government is alive to the needs of citizens and has once again reviewed the requirement of security forces.
Following the completion of elections in Pulwama & Shopian districts and as the requirement of Security Forces is now reducing, the Government has decided to further relax the restrictions on traffic imposed earlier as follows- The restriction on civilian movement between Srinagar and Udhampur highway will be lifted on Wednesdays from May 13, 2019. The prohibition on civilian traffic in this stretch would now be only on Sunday.
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 highway.
A complete review of remaining restrictions on the Highway would be done subsequently.
The Government stated that the purpose of these restrictions is in the larger interest of security of everyone and appealed the people to extend full cooperation in the smooth regulation of traffic. The restrictions strike a balance between the needs of people and inconvenience caused to them on one side and the needs of security forces.
The restrictions will continue to be reviewed on a real time basis and modifications will be made as necessary in the coming days.
Meanwhile, traffic will ply from Ladakh to Kashmir valley on the Srinagar-Leh national highway on Wednesday. No vehicle will be allowed from opposite direction, he said.
Only one-way traffic will continue to ply on historic Mughal road, connecting Shopian in south Kashmir with Rajouri and Poonch in Jammu region. Today vehicles will ply from Shopian to Jammu, traffic spokesman said.