STATE TIMES NEWS
Jammu: Taking a serious note of a rice-loaded truck getting stuck for nearly 30 hours on Jammu-Srinagar national highway, Jammu and Kashmir administration on Monday directed the officials to take strict action against “overloaded” load carriers.
It has also directed for opening of Panthiyal tunnel by middle of April to bypass the landslide stretch.
The directions were passed by Chief Secretary A K Mehta at a meeting which was convened to review the condition of the 270-km highway – the only all-weather road linking Kashmir with rest of the country- here, an official spokesman said.
The strategic highway was cleared for stranded vehicles Monday afternoon after road clearance agencies pulled out the truck that was stuck in mud near Panthiyal in Ramban district for nearly 30 hours.
The Chief Secretary was apprised of the recent traffic disruption on the highway due to the breakdown of an overloaded vehicle carrying 36-ton dry ration in violation of the laid down norms, the spokesman said. He said Mehta directed for ascertaining reasons for the incident to prevent recurrence of such incidents in future.
He also directed the National Highways Authority of India (NNHAI) and traffic police to forthwith put in place a mechanism for calibrated checking of all load carriers to prevent plying of overloaded vehicles, which not only disrupts the usual traffic flow but also compromises the road quality, the spokesman said.
Mehta maintained that all load-carrying vehicles are to be passed through weighing bridges at toll plazas in a staggered manner to avoid any jams and action against overloaded vehicles is to be initiated to ensure smooth flow of traffic.
Reviewing the progress of works at the Panthiyal Tunnel, the Chief Secretary directed the NHAI to double its efforts and complete the pending works by April 15.
The Chief Secretary emphasized that on completion the tunnel will provide reliable connectivity by-passing the current landslide-prone stretch of NH-44 and as such will provide safe and secure transit to vehicles.
To further facilitate smooth traffic flow on the Ramban-Banihal stretch of the highway, the traffic police and district administration were directed to properly demarcate single-lane driving zones and ensure lane-driving and traffic discipline among the commuters, the spokesman said.
Mehta also stressed the need for wearing of body cameras by traffic police and regular drives to check traffic violations, he said.