The Banihal Qazigund Four Lane Tunnel remains closed till 8 am and passengers travelling on the Srinagar-Jammu Highway instead of facing ease have to wait for hours to cross the tunnel.
The commuters say that on a daily basis they end up wasting hours in traffic jams while waiting for opening up of Qazigund-Banihal tunnel
Built at a cost of Rs 2,100 crore, the tunnel was expected to reduce the distance between Banihal in Jammu and Qazigund in Kashmir by 16 km. According to one report, it enables travellers to bypass the Jawahar Tunnel as well as Shaitani Nalla, both of which have became increasingly dangerous to travel on during the chilly winter months. ; Its completion came as a major respite to commuters.
However, the purpose of this tunnel on highway is dying nowadays. Instead of facilitating the flow of traffic for 24 hours, the tunnel is closed till 8 am these days, due to which there are endless queues of vehicles for many kilometres on both sides of the tunnel.
WhIle speaking to SP traffic rural Kashmir, Manzoor Ahmad said they have nothing to do with this,
One of the resident said that it should be ensured that the tunnel is kept open 24 hours so that the passengers would not face any difficulty and steps should be taken for smooth movement of traffic on the tunnel. He said that the concerned authorities were not paying any attention to the problems faced by the passengers including a large number of patients and students.
Instead of resolving the problems faced by the passengers on the tunnel, administration has remained as a silent spectator, he alleged
Since the CRPF is deployed on the highway, considered it appropriate to talk to the them, when we approached PRO CRPF, Junaid Khan, he said that we have no role in it. We follow the local police and administration.
However, DSP Traffic Tariq Ahmed Tak told that the traffic advisory for highway is issued every day and under the same advisory, vehicles are allowed to cross the tunnel after eight o’clock.
“We allow vehicles accordingly to the advisory issued’, he added.
The tunnel is, reportedly, built at an average elevation of 1,790 metres which makes it 400 metres lower than the existing Jawahar tunnel. This, it is believed, makes it less prone to avalanches than its only other alternative.