Roads connect villages to villages,villages to cities and cities to villages and are very important for economic growth and development and development of society as well. Smooth road connectivity between rural and urban centres within the state will have a far-reaching implications for poverty reduction as this will lead to improvement in income generating opportunities. Jammu and kashmir government allocates crores of rupees every year for development of roads in order to improve the road connectivity, economic growth and development and ensuring safety to all people. The central government is also taking keen intrest for development of Jammu and Kashmir roads in particular and allocates crores of rupees in every financial year under various schemes particularly Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY). It is worth mentioning here that Jammu and Kashmir has been ranked at third place among all states/union territories for developing the highest road length under Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) in the financial year 2020-21. For the year 2021-22, the J&K government has allocated Rs 4089 crore as annual budget for the development of roads and bridges .The development of roads in the form of Macdamisation, filling potholes, development of retaing walls, drainage system for roads etc under various schemes like PMGSY has started in the month of early June 2021 owing to high favourable temperature. Many roads connecting villages and cities have been macdamised completely and some are getting macdamised. The Department of Roads & Buildings (R&B) is also at the forefront regarding development of roads and same has started black topping of city and village roads. The road macadamization, pothole filling and addressing languishing projects are the precedence of the Department of Roads & Buildings (R&B). Despite macdamisation of roads, the life span of macdamised roads particularly in Kashmir valley is very short due to many reasons.
First and foremost lack of education and awareness among people regarding importance of roads for all round development of the state, Roads are facing destruction at the hands of few careless farmers who irrigate their lands by flood irrigation method that spill over canals and get on roads that cut short of road life, some careless people are cutting roads for laying drinking water pipes after macdamisation of roads, vehicle owners and drivers wash their vehicles on roads damage macdamised roads by developing potholes that are causing many problems to the commuters and other drivers, lack of stringent road laws and poor implementation of Road protection laws, Lack of proper drainage system by the sides of roads, heavy snowfall and freezing temperatures in winter months are causing heavy damage to Kashmir valley roads. City and even village roads often turn into streams with few millimeters of precipitation due to lack of flush out mechanism besides, lack of modern technology in road development and use of substandard materials for road construction and development are also responsible causes of road destruction of Jammu and Kashmir. It is pertinent to mention here that few roads having drainage system have been completely chocked due to pollution by the materialistic people and only a few roads with drainage system are working smoothly. The destruction of roads due to above reasons are not causing only heavy loss to state exchequer but are also adding many problems to common people, commuters, drivers etc How to save our roads from destruction, many constructive measures are required. The important measures for road protection are:-
Education and awareness among the people about the importance of well developed roads, development of sound drainage system, adoption of modern road development technology, use of standard materials for road construction and development, unclogging of drainage systems, heavy fine and imprisonment for violators of road protection laws, NGO’S, civil society and religious scholars must also come forward in preserving and protecting the roads. Let’s pledge sincerely not to destroy roads due to our sheer negligence and protect roads in all respects as people of developed countries protect so that innocent people and commuters may not suffer and human lives can be saved from road accidents and huge amount of state exchequer can be saved for development of social infrastructures for the well being of all people of Jammu and Kashmir.
( The author is a teacher at Boys Higher Secondary School Beerwah. Views are exclusively his own)