Highway Still Closed, Air Services Resume

Srinagar: The Srinagar-Jammu highway remained closed on fourth consecutive day on Friday, however, the air services resumed to and fro from valley.

Traffic officials said that the road will be open only after condition improves.

The Air services resumed after third days and hundreds of passengers were seen rushing towards Srinagar International Airport.

Over 250 vehicles, mostly trucks remained stranded for the past about a week at different places on the highway.

Closure of the highway has resulted in shortage of essentials commodities, particularly fresh vegetables in the Kashmir valley.

We are expecting to resume traffic on the highway tomorrow provided there is no fresh snowfall and landslides, a traffic police official said.

He said there was more than one feet of fresh snowfall on the highway, particularly on both sides of Jawahar tunnel, Banihal, Shaitan Nallah and Qazigund for the past three days. The weather was dry since last evening, he said adding the Border Roads Organisation (BRO), responsible for the maintenance of the highway has already pressed into service sophisticated machine and men to clear the snow and landslides on the road.

However, he said, once a green signal is received from BRO and Traffic police officials posted at different places, only stranded vehicles will be allowed before allowing fresh traffic on the highway.

Meanwhile, official sources said that there are over 250 vehicles, particularly trucks and oil tanker, stranded on the highway at different places. The stranded vehicles would be cleared before allowing fresh traffic on the highway.

Traffic on the highway, the only road linking the valley with the rest of the country, was disrupted frequently due to snowfall and landslides besides slippery road conditions since first heavy snowfall on January 6.

The historic Mughal road, connecting Shopian in south Kashmir with Rajouri and Poonch in Jammu region and national highway, linking the Ladakh region with Kashmir remained closed due to heavy snowfall. Both the roads will reopen only in summer. The Mughal road is seen as alternative to Srinagar-Jammu national highway.

However, the closure of the highway has resulted in considerable increase in the prices of essentials, including vegetables and fruits. Kashmir valley is importing vegetables, fruits and chicken and meat from different parts of the country.

Majority meat and chicken shops are closed as valley because of no supply due to closure of the highway.

A wholesale trader at vegetable mandi in Srinagar said that only potatoes and onions are available in the mandi. We were receiving hundreds of trucks loaded with fresh vegetables every day but for the past about one week there is hardly any, he said adding the local vegetables are also under snow.

Rail Services Resume

Normal rail services resumed in the Kashmir valley on Friday, where less number of train runs were operated yesterday for security reasons and intermittent snowfall.

All rail runs between Srinagar-Budgam in central Kashmir to Baramulla in north Kashmir will operate today as per schedule.

Similarly train service from Budgam-Srinagar in central Kashmir to Islamabad and Qazigund in south valley and Banihal in Jammu region will operate as per schedule, a railway official said.

He said for security and weather, out of 28 train runs, only 18 could operate yesterday as announced earlier yesterday, when the number of passengers was very less because of holiday on account of January 26, when resistance leadership had called for a general strike.

There was some delay in the morning as we wanted to make sure that there is no snow on the tracks, he said.

There was moderate to heavy snowfall in the Kashmir valley, particularly in north Kashmir affecting rail service during the past one week.

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