The failure of the state government to maintain and upgrade the rural roads despite liberal state government funding is not only shocking but criminal as huge amount of resources are being made available under various schemes to upgrade the rural infrastructure. It is strange that the state government despite promising an infrastructure turnaround prior to the election has not taken any step to make good it’s promises.
Bad roads are not only causing accidents but lack of good roads has a very negative impact on the economy, job creation and growth in the hinterland. If data related to poverty figures is analysed it would become clear that seven districts in J&K which have the most poverty also have the worst roads in the state. A number of schemes have been launched by the union government particularly the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana which provide liberal assistance to improve, and upgrade the crucial road network in rural areas. The roads in the state are in worst condition particularly in hilly areas, and these become worst when floods and landslides occur.
It is also the reason that a lot of accidents happen on the roads causing a number of fatalities. It is now important for the state government to take into account the missive from the union surface transport ministry and set up a Rural Road Maintenance policy which will create a template for managing the rural infrastructure.
Sadly, the state government has not done it’s homework on this subject despite repeated reminders from the centre. This is despite the fact that J&K roads in hilly and rural areas are in very bad condition. The lack of good roads hampers development while aiding the insurgency as movement of security forces is not smooth. The rural economy also remains cut from the mainstream which is a sad state of affairs. It is high time the state government acts on the directives of the centre because it is in the interest of the people of this region that they get good roads to drive, reach out to new markets, and drive the economy. This is also important to get central funding without which nothing much is possible to happen.
The Government should put an end to irresponsible attitude because it goes against the interests of the people. It should immediately respond to the instructions of the Union Ministry of Transport and send in the Rural Road Maintenance Policy report so that our State is enabled to receive its due share in the development of rural roads network.