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Transporters, students, traders fume at highway ban order

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Tassaduq Hussain
Kupwara: Notwithstanding the government claims about least inconvenience to public on the first day of the ban on civilian traffic movement on highway from Baramulla to Udhampur, students, traders, transporters and people from other walks of life in this frontier district expressed serious resentment.
Zahoor Ahmad, a driver, said that a large number of transporters rely on daily work as they have availed the vehicles on loan.
“The government shouldn’t have taken any such step knowing that it directly impacts our earnings,” Zahoor says. “One day means a lot for us. Our living is from hand to mouth. The ban simply means denying days earning to us and our families,” he says.
On April 3, the government banned civilian traffic from dawn to dusk for two days every week (Sunday and Wednesday) on the Highway stretch from Udhampur in Jammu to Baramulla in North Kashmir to “facilitate the movement of government forces convoys.”
“Several doctors from Srinagar and others parts could not reach Kupwara today due to the highway ban and thousands of patients were directly impacted,” said a medical shop owner.
Arif Ahmad, a student from Kralpora Kupwara who is enrolled at Amar Singh College at Srinagar said: “I used to travel back home on Saturday evening every week and get my uniform, other clothes washed and leave back on Sunday in the afternoon but the closure of highway disturbed all this. It is simply very bad.”
He said that there are scores of similarly situated students who would travel to home and back every weekend to meet family members and leave back on Sunday in afternoon “but it seems this right has been taken away.”
Abid Ahmad Peer, a local shopkeeper said that due to highway closure, the supplies were impacted and urged government to reconsider the “harsh” decision.
On first day of ban, most markets in Kupwara wore relatively deserted look as people preferred to stay home.
Zubair Ahamd a resident of main town Kupwara said that only road vendors were visible in the market “which isn’t a good sign.”
Nasir Ahmad, a cricketer said that he was supposed to reach Sopore for a match at about 10 a.m. but “unfortunately I couldn’t find a single vehicle due to absence of vehicles from stand. I had to skip the match in absence of transport.”

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