Srinagar: The 300-km-long Srinagar-Jammu national highway, the only road linking the Kashmir valley with the rest of the country, was put through for one-way traffic only after remaining closed due to snow and landslides for the past five days.
”We have allowed traffic from Srinagar to Jammu today,” a traffic police official told UNI.
He said besides vehicles stranded at Qazigund and other places, fresh vehicles were allowed to move towards Jammu today. However, no vehicle will be allowed from Jammu to Srinagar today.
Only one-way traffic will ply on the highway till further orders on the highway, he said.
Meanwhile, hundreds of heavy vehicles, mostly trucks carrying essentials besides oil tankers remained stranded on the highway resulting in shortage of essential commodities, particularly fresh vegetables and fruits besides meat and chicken in the valley.
Closure of the highway and frequent disruption in air traffic coupled with major increase in the airfare has badly affected tourist arrival which had started picking up since January 6 following heavy snowfall after about six month long dry spell and the Kashmir unrest.
However, the Border Roads Organisation (BRO), responsible for the maintenance of the highway, has been working round the clock to make the road safe for two way journey.
A traffic police official said that two-way traffic on the highway will be resumed only once a green signal is received from BRO and Traffic police officials posted at different places.
Similarly, about 500 Kashmir bound vehicles, including trucks loaded with essentials, are stranded on other side of the tunnel. However, light passenger vehicles were allowed from Jammu to Srinagar after the BRO put through the highway for one way yesterday.
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 shortage of essentials, particularly fresh vegetables and fruits as trucks remained stranded for the past about a week across the tunnel. The prices of local vegetables had also witnessed increase. Kashmir valley is importing vegetables, fruits and chicken and meat from different parts of the country.
Majority meat and chicken shops remained closed in the valley because of no supply from outside due to closure of the highway.
Traders at vegetable mandi remained idle as only onion and potatoes are available.
”We were receiving hundreds of trucks loaded with fresh vegetables every day but for the past about more than a week there is hardly any,” the traders said, adding the local vegetables are also under snow forcing people to consume pulses and dry vegetables.
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