Sgr-Jammu highway again closed due to heavy rain, landslides

Srinagar:  The 300-km-long national highway, the only road linking the Kashmir valley with the rest of the country was closed again Sunday due to fresh heavy snowfall and landslides.

Traffic on the highway was resumed partially yesterday after remaining suspended for two days due to massive landslides. However, only stranded vehicles, including carrying passengers and trucks loaded with essentials were allowed to move towards their respective destinations.

Due to fresh snowfall on the highway, particularly at Qazigund, Jawahar tunnel, Shaitan Nallah and Banihal and landslides between Ramban and Ramsu, the highway was again closed for any traffic movement,  said a traffic police official 

Traffic department had announced last evening that only light vehicles, particularly carrying passengers would be allowed to ply from both sides on the highway. However, due to snowfall no vehicle was allowed from Srinagar or Jammu today, he said.

However, continued snowfall and threat of avalanches and landslides has hampered operation launched by the Border Roads Organisation (BRO), responsible for the maintainance of the highway to put through the road.

Traffic on highway was suspended on February 2 due to huge avalanche and shooting stone at Digdol, Batery Cheshma and Mehar Nallah. However, the BRO put into service more than six sophisticated machines and men to remove the landslides from the road.

There were more than 3000 Kashmir bound vehicles, including those carrying passengers and trucks loaded with essentials stranded at Batote and Ramban besides other areas. Similarly about 500 empty trucks and oil tankers besides trucks loaded with fruit were stranded at Qazigund and other places on this side of the Jawahar tunnel.

However, Kashmir bound vehicles stranded at Batote and Ramban and other places were cleared after BRO made one-way alternative temporary road. We were able to help more than 3000 heavy vehicles, including those carrying essentials and oil tankers to reach Kashmir till last evening.  

Official sources said that there are still more than 1500 vehicles stranded on both sides of the tunnel on the highway.

Traffic on the highway was disrupted frequently due to snowfall and landslides besides slippery road conditions since first heavy snowfall on January 6. There is forecast for more rain and snow during the next few days in the state.
  
To avoid any traffic jam and accident the authorities decided to allow only one-way traffic on the highway till further orders as the road is very narrow and damaged at several places where two vehicles cannot cross at a time.

Two-way traffic will be resumed only after receiving green signal from the traffic police and BRO personnel posted at several places, traffic police official said.

The historic Mughal road, connecting Shopian in south Kashmir with Rajouri and Poonch in Jammu region  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.

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