Kashmir Indepth

Altaf Bukhari demands free air services for stranded passengers

Srinagar, February 10: Expressing serious concern over plight of stranded passengers due to the continuous closure of Jammu-Srinagar highway, former finance minister Syed Mohammad Altaf Bukhari on Sunday urged the Governor to seek help of Indian Air Force for evacuation of thousands of passengers who are desperate to reach to their respective destinations.

In a statement issued here, Bukhari said the official reports suggest that there are thousands of passengers who are stuck at various places on Srinagar-Jammu National Highway and are distressed to reach their destination without any further delay.

“I solicit the personal intervention of the Hon’ble Governor Shri. Satya Pal Malik Ji to seek help from Indian Air Force to airlift these stranded passengers that include elderly persons, women, children and the students,” the former finance minister demanded.

He emphasized on formulation of a robust plan by the governor administration to deal with the crisis like situation that has surfaced because of heavy snowfall and occurrence of landslides at various locations on National Highway.

“I don’t think the authorities manning National Highway can facilitate its smooth opening very soon. The bad weather conditions coupled with frequent landslides and shooting stones have created difficulties for them to keep it open for smooth vehicular traffic. So in such a situation the administration must come up with a robust plan to deal with the crisis of stranded passengers and shortage of ration,” Bukhari observed.

He remarked that till the additional flights especially the Globemaster aircrafts of Indian Air Force are pressed into service for evacuation, the governor led administration must arrange free accommodation, food and medicines for the stranded passengers.

The former public works minister also urged the authorities to expedite work on national highway especially from Banihal to Ramban stretch which often remains closed due to landslides and shooting stones.

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