The historic Mughal road and Sinthan pass in Jammu and Kashmir were reopened for normal traffic on Monday after they were closed by the administration for nearly two years. The vital road links connecting Pirpanjal region and Chenab Valley region with Kashmir were closed on security grounds following the abrogation of Jammu and Kashmir's special constitutional status on August 5, 2019.
Restrictions on vehicular movement were later extended on the pretext of Covid-induced lockdown.
The route was named as Mughal Road after Mughals used it to conquer Kashmir.
The decision to reopen the roads after 23 months was taken a week after the Centre's dialogue initiative with Kashmiri leaders on June 24.
Last week, J&K's Lt Governor Manoj Sinha said the decision has been taken for convenience of the common people, after several delegations from Rajouri, Poonch, Doda and Kishtwar districts met him and demanded opening of routes.
The reopening of roads will reduce distance and travel time between regions. The distance between Srinagar and Poonch via Jammu is more than 500 km. With the reopening of Mughal road, it will be cut down to 170 km.
Closure of these roads had badly hit economic activities and brought hardships.
During pandemic, even ambulances were not allowed to move with patients. Just last week, a protest was held when ambulance carrying serious patients disallowed to move along Mughal road.
The road was partially opened last year for trucks carrying fresh fruits but there was a strict ban on the movement of private or public transport on the road, said officials.
Mohammad Aslam, a taxi driver, said that it's after two years he's resuming his normal work on that route.
"I purchased a Tata sumo after taking loan from bank. But for the last two years, we were not allowed to move on this road. Our livelihood was badly hit," he said.
The reopening of the roads has rekindled hopes of revival of economic, tourism and social activities.