Two ruling PDP legislators from Kupwara on Wednesday staged a sit-in at the entrance of the Assembly in Jammu to press for construction of tunnel at Sadhna top along the Kupwara-Tangdhar road, where 11 people were killed due to an avalanche earlier this month.
MLA Raja Manzoor Ahmad Khan and MLC Javed Ahmad, holding a banner in support of their demand, staged the sit-in at the stairs of the Assembly minutes before the start of the day’s proceedings this morning.
“We are staging the protest to invite the attention of the state and the central government towards the strategic importance of Sadhna tunnel. The strategic road connecting the border towns with Kashmir remains closed for six months owing to heavy snowfall at Sadhna top,” Khan told reporters.
He said the construction of the tunnel at Sadhna would make the road an all-weather link, help save the lives of the people and is also important as far as defence point of view is concerned.
Ten civilians and a border roads organisation (BRO) officer were killed in an avalanche at Sadhna top early this month, leading to massive protests in Karnah in support of the demand for the construction of the tunnel.
“We have suffered a lot after the division of the state due to the single road connectivity. Hundreds of people have lost their lives at Sadhna top while crossing the snow bound areas over the years,” he said.
He claimed that Pakistan government with the help of China is constructing a tunnel in Leepa valley facing Karnah, which would provide defence advantage to other side.
“There is no doubt that the state government has sent a proposal to the Centre for construction of the tunnel for approval and funding. We do not want the tunnel for tourism but for the safety of the people.
“We want government of India to give due importance to the state government’s proposal and sanction the project on priority,” he said.
He said Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti had already taken up the matter with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and defence minister Nirmla Sitharaman.