SC seeks replies from Centre,J&K on highway traffic ban

  1. The Supreme Court has issued a notice to the Centre and the Jammu and Kashmir government on a petition which has challenged restrictions imposed on civilian movement along the National Highway between Srinagar and Baramulla.
  2. The petitioner has argued that the order announcing the ban (a) directly affects the lives of lakhs of people and its indirect economic and social impact is permanent (b)prohibition on civilian traffic on the highway will also have an impact on the tourism industry of the state and (c)It violates the fundamental rights of citizens,including those to life,health,education and livelihood.
  3. Earlier,Jammu and Kashmir administration and Centre had said that the national highway from Baramulla to Udhampur will be put out of bounds for civilian traffic for two days a week till May 31.No civilian traffic has been allowed during the movement of the paramilitary forces.
  4. The ban on the civilian traffic has been in force for the two days — Sunday and Wednesday — from 4 am to 5 pm.It has been effective from Baramulla to Udhampur through Srinagar,Qazigund,Jawahar-Tunnel, Banihal and Ramban.
  5. The government has cited the recent suicide bombing of a security forces convoy in Pulwama which killed 40 CRPF personnel as the reason for temporarily blocking part of the highway.Further,the decision was also made in view of the upcoming lok sabha elections.
  6. The Jammu-Srinagar-Uri national highway(NH-1A) runs 370 km.The national highway is not just the only road link that connects Kashmir to the outside world but also the key highway that connects Srinagar with the southern and northern districts of the Valley.The highway passes through five of the 10 districts of the Valley.