Mughal Highway: Lifeline of  livelihoods, navigating hurdles for prosperity

Mughal Highway: Lifeline of  livelihoods, navigating hurdles for prosperity

Shopian, Jan 4: Muffled up in a number of layers of clothes, Jahangir Ahmad is busy cleansing the rickety tables inside his small tea stall in an idyllic Heerpora village alongside the Mughal Highway in south Kashmir’s Shopian district.

Quickly some travellers get off a cab, rubbing their arms and blowing air onto them amid a sub-zero temperature.

Stepping contained in the store, Ahmad with out asking something put sizzling cups of tea, sugar-dusted biscuits, and cornbread on their tables.

The non-native travellers started slurping the tea and savoured every mouthful.

Ahmad, 36, arrange the tea stall in 2018 after a row of retailers got here up on both facet of the arterial highway connecting Shopian with Bafliaz in Poonch district of Pir Panjal area.

The mini market supplies livelihood to not less than 200 to 250 folks within the space.

“It grew to become potential solely because of the building of Mughal Highway,” Ganie stated.

The bucolic village is thought for its first-rate potatoes, which as soon as offered livelihood to most of its inhabitants.

Nonetheless, the manufacturing dipped considerably because the residents took to apple cultivation.

The Mughal Highway, which was thrown open for Gentle Motor Autos (LMVs) in 2009 opened up a window of alternative for the locals to earn their livelihood by organising small common shops, meals joints, and different kiosks.

In line with Ahmad, there are greater than 100 outlets within the village.

“Aside from this, dozens of distributors from some adjoining villages additionally promote their merchandise within the village,” he stated.

One other resident stated that the members of the nomadic Bakerwal neighborhood who transfer to alpine pastures together with their livelihood throughout summers additionally promote their dairy merchandise within the space.

“They usually often obtain higher costs,” he stated.

A brief drive from the village alongside the sinuous highway results in the verdant pastures of Dubijan.

Environed by lofty pine bushes, the place is dwelling to a sizzling water spring, which many consider has a healing energy.

Throughout summers, folks from many areas thronged the place to take a dip within the spring.

The awe-inspiring vacation spot attracts quite a few photo-freaks, vloggers, and journey aficionados. Nonetheless, the closure of Mughal Highway throughout winter takes a toll on native companies.

The heavy snowfall at a number of locations together with Pir Ki Gali clogs up the highway meandering by a thick forest cowl for over 4 months, which comes as a blow to the native market throughout this era.

“Throughout winters no person visits right here prompting us to close our outlets,” stated a gaggle of residents.

They stated that in 2022, a heavy snowfall spurred the closure of the highway on November 25.

“Nonetheless, this 12 months, the highway is open for site visitors as a consequence of beneficial climate circumstances,” the residents stated.

Govt Engineer (R&B) Maqsood Ahmad instructed Better Kashmir that the highway would stay open until there was a heavy snowfall, necessitating its closure.

To show it right into a fair-weather highway, the Detailed Challenge Report (DPR) for the development of the tunnel is within the final leg of approval.

The development of the tunnel wouldn’t solely promote the native economic system but additionally supply an alternate floor hyperlink, connecting Kashmir with the remainder of the nation.

In April 2023, Union Minister for Highway Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari stated that the tunnel on the Mughal Highway was among the many high priorities of the Rs 1,25,000 crore undertaking taken up in Jammu and Kashmir.

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