Pulwama fallout: Many link roads to NH44 dug up


SRINAGAR: The Jammu and Kashmir administration has ordered closure of over 18 link roads leading to the highway on Srinagar-Qazigund stretch as part of security measures undertaken in the wake of the February 14 attack by a vehicle borne suicide bomber on National Highway-44 on a convoy of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel that led to deaths of 40 jawans.

Following the attack, officials discussed the threat posed by the link roads which were constructed with the consent of some local officials but were not part of the original detailed project report.

“The decision to cut off these link roads was taken for security reasons and the administration gave an order to implement this decision,” Hemraj, regional head of the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), told ET.

He said the decision is being implemented by RAMKY Infrastructure Limited, which is handling the four-lane project.

The firm has ploughed several of these link roads, thus disconnecting many villages from the highway. The new four-lane NH-44, Srinagar-Qazigund stretch was opened for traffic in October 2017 and the then government claimed that this stretch would be more secure for armed forces’ vehicles and Amarnath Yatra.

Officials said the administration has also raised concerns over new illegal constructions along the highway which also pose a security threat.

“The Pulwama attacker probably used one of these roads. These roads are not in the original plan and thus we also miss several of these entry and exit points from security point of view,” said a senior police official.

Another government official said that there are around five illegal approach roads from Nowgam to Lethpora, the place where the February 14 suicide attack took place.


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