Braving heavy snowfall, Karnah people protest, demand tunnel at Sadna Pass

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Say tunnel promise continuing since 2009, seek admin’s assistance in bringing back bodies of 3 residents from Handwara

Waris Fayaz

Srinagar, Feb 09: Amid heavy snowfall, scores of people at Karnah in north Kashmir’s frontier Kupwara district held a protest demonstration and took out a march to the mini secretariat to press for their demand of a tunnel at the Sadna Pass.

Holding placards and the national flag in their hands, the protesters raised slogans in favour of their demand. They also sought the assistance of the district administration to ferry back the bodies of three Karnah residents to their respective native places for last rites.

Talking to the news agency— (KNO) over the phone, the protesters said they were promised the Sadna tunnel in 2009. “Since then, we are only being told that a detailed project report (DPR) of the tunnel is being prepared but no one knows the reality,” they said.

We have been protesting for the last 30 years, demanding construction of a tunnel at the Sadhna Pass on the Kupwara-Tanghdar highway, which has emerged as a “death trap” over the years, a protester said.

He said the Kupwara-Karnah stretch has become highly vulnerable to avalanches and landslides which disconnects them from the rest of the valley and leads to the shortage of essential and medical supplies.

“When it snows, we have to carry patients on our shoulders and trek to reach the hospitals in Kupwara or Srinagar as we don’t have any medium of transport,” another protest said, adding that the government should consider their situation and construct a 6-kilometre-long tunnel at the Sadhna Top.

Notably, in 2021, Bharatiya Janata Party’s Jammu & Kashmir chief Ravinder Raina said that work on the much-awaited Sadhna Top tunnel will start soon and its detailed project report (DPR) will be ready by March 2022. The Central government has allocated Rs 1300 crore for the construction of the tunnel and the work on the same will start soon, Raina had said earlier.

The protesters also demanded assistance from the district administration to ferry back the dead bodies of three Karnah residents to their native places. “The mortal remains of three of our people are stuck at the Handwara mortuary, one each from Ghabra, Bhattpora and Amrooj,” they said.

It is pertinent to mention here that a few days ago; the district administration facilitated the mortal remains of four Karnah residents to their respective areas by escorting the men and machinery on the snow-covered Kupwara-Karnah road—(KNO)

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