Ladakh highway, Mughal road open


Srinagar: Traffic on Srinagar-Jammu and Ladakh highways besides historic Mughal road resumed after remaining suspended due to protests and snowfall.

Traffic on Sonamarg-Drass portion of the Srinagar-Leh highway will be allowed to ply from 0700 hrs to 2100 hrs to carry out repair work on the national highway, which was damaged due to rain and snow during the past 24 hours.

Traffic was plying on the 300-km-long Srinagar-Jammu national highway, connecting the Kashmir valley with the rest of the country normally today.

Traffic was suspended yesterday afternoon on the highway following clashes between demonstrators, protesting against the killing of a Kashmiri trucker Zahid Bhat and security forces, who burst teargas shells and resorted to repeated lathicharge.

Zahid, who succumbed to burn injuries in a hospital at New Delhi on October 18, was injured in a petrol bomb attack on his truck at Udhampur in Jammu region on October 9.

Hundreds of vehicles, including those carrying passengers, which were stopped at Banihal and Jawhar tunnel, were later allowed to move towards Kashmir valley last night after demonstrators dispersed.

Tourists from West Bengal and other parts of the country, expressed their concern over the frequent closure of the highway due to strike and protests.

They alleged that they were stopped at a place where there was no arrangement for food and wash-rooms.

Similarly, trucks and other vehicles, which were stopped at several places on the highway between Srinagar and Awantipora were also allowed to move towards Jammu last evening.

A traffic police official told UNI that traffic was also resumed on the national highway, linking the Ladakh region with the Kashmir valley.

Traffic on the highway was suspended due to snowfall and slippery road conditions yesterday. However, the Border Roads Organisation (BRO), responsible for the maintenance of the highway immediately pressed into service sophisticated machines and men and put through the strategically important road link, which remains cut off during winter months due to heavy snowfall.

Inspector General of Police (IGP) said movement of all types of vehicles on Sonamarg Drass road, linking Ladakh region shall be allowed between 0700 hrs and 2100 hrs only on daily basis.

He said between 2100 hrs to 0700 hrs, the Sonamarg Drass road shall be kept dry to enable the BEACON authorities, to carry out the necessary repairs and proper maintenance.

The IGP said there is a need to coordinate between Army, BEACON and other agencies concerned to ensure hassle-free movement of traffic on the Sonamarg Drass road and to avoid any confusion.

He said traffic on the historic Mughal road, connecting Shopian in south Kashmir with Rajouri and Poonch in Jammu region was also put through.

Hundreds of vehicles were stranded on the road which was closed for traffic following snowfall and slippery conditions on October 19 due to more than one and-half-a-feet of snowfall and landslides.

However, the local administration pressed into service sophisticated machines and men to put through the road, being seen as alternative to the Srinagar-Jammu national highway.

All the stranded vehicles were cleared and fresh traffic was allowed from both sides this morning, he said.

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