Some vital stretches of the NH-44, bypassed during the construction and widening of the highway, arein a shambles, with the authorities looking the other way as commuters continue to suffer.
The main stretches that have been affected in the process include the 7-km Khannabal-Sangam stretch, more than 3 km of Awantipora-Barsoo stretch and around 5 km of the Pampore-Panthachowk stretch.
The stretches were bypassed in the new alignment of the widened highway. Their maintenance was entrusted to Ramky, a Hyderabad-based construction company which was the executing agency of the construction of the NH-44.
Commuters allege that the stretches have not been fully macadamised in the past more than seven years.
“The company just did the patching of the road wherever it felt the condition had deteriorated. Nothing beyond that,” Rayees Bhat, an education department employee and a daily commuter on the Khannabal-Sangam stretch, said.
“Potholes, stench of dog carcasses and wild cannabis growson both sides. Thisis the condition of the highway stretches,” commuters said.
Ramky officials said the company was no longer responsible for the maintenance given that the NH-44 had been thrown open. “It is the responsibility of the state now,” said Aijaz Hussain, vice-president of the company.
Officials of the roads and buildings department said steps were being taken to improve theroad condition.
“Our chief engineer was apprised of the situation. Hopefully, steps will be taken to make the condition of the roads better,” said Javed Ahmad, assistant director, planning, roads and buildings department.