Highway closure: Truckers, Poonch traders face hardships

The closure of the highway stretch between BhimberGali (BG) to JarranWaliGali for the seventh successive day Wednesday has put truckers, Poonch traders and local commuters to hardships.

Besides, the traders, having their business establishments in BhataDhurian market area are also suffering financial losses in absence of customers.

Many among them are not even able to open their shops.

The traffic diversion from Mendhar road has failed to provide any reprieve to the people, especially the truckers.

While diversion has already increased the distance, the dilapidated road condition between BhimberGali and Mendhar is adding to the woes of the commuters.

The highway, referred to as National Highway 144-A, connects Poonch and Rajouri districts with Jammu district.

The highway stretch between BhimberGali and JarranWaliGali has been closed due to the ongoing gunfight at Nar forest area of BhataDhurian village.

Authorities have diverted entire traffic, including heavy trucks, to Mendhar-BG stretch.

“We are stuck on the highway for the last four days,” said Yashpal Singh, a UP-based trucker.

He said that his 10-tyre truck could not ply on the narrow BG-Mendhar road.

“I have been waiting for the opening of the highway for the last four days. I will move towards Poonch only after the highway is restored,” he said.

Ramesh Sharma, a resident of Poonch, said that the distance between Poonch to Jammu had increased due to the closure of the highway.

“The people now have to travel an extra 60 km between JarranWaliGali and BhimberGali via Mendhar. However, the main problem is not extra distance but dilapidated road condition between BhimberGali and JarranWaliGali which is full of potholes and is also a congested single-lane road,” he said.

The highway closure has also impacted the trading community in the area.

BhataDhurian Market is located along Jammu-Rajouri-Poonch highway.

Local traders said that the NaibTehsildar’s office, J&K Bank branch, Primary Health Centre, higher secondary school, all were located in the market, which is the main link for the four villages.