On Closed Sgr-Jmu Highway, Stranded Passengers ‘Travel By Foot’

SRINAGAR: Thousands of passengers from the Kashmir valley who remained stranded on Srinagar-Jammu highway due to landslides at different locations for the fifth consecutive day marched by foot from Ramban to Banihal on Monday.

The passengers including drivers accused district administration of callousness and said that due to “official apathy” they have to pay for even water on the highway.

Due to shortage of basic facilities, the stranded passengers including woman and children started foot journey while according to reports thousands of passengers were seen marching towards Banihal amid the clearance work by authorities at Digdol, Panthahal and other locations which were hit by landslides.

The fresh snowfall on the highway forced closure of traffic particularly at Qazigund, Jawahar tunnel, Shaitan Nallah and Banihal and landslides between Ramban and Ramsu and Patnitop, a traffic police official.

There were landslides and shooting stones at about a dozen places on other side of the tunnel.

However, the BRO put into service sophisticated machines and men to remove the landslides and other debris from the road.

Majority Kashmir-bound vehicles, including those carrying passengers and trucks loaded with essentials have been cleared, official sources said, adding that there are still large number of vehicles stranded on the highway.

Eyewitnesses said that all but 2500 to 3000 vehicles are stranded on Srinagar-Jammu highway while a beeline of private trucks could be seen from Qazigund to Mir Bazar.

The stranded drivers alleged that not a single government official visited them to take stock of the situation which according to them is very ‘grim’.

Witnesses said that some of the stranded passengers held a demonstration to protest the shortage of basic facilities and demanded their airlifting to Kashmir.

SP Traffic Rural, Fayaz Ahmed, however, told CNS that the BEACON was carrying out restoration work on “war-footing” and damaged stretch of the road was expected to be cleared by Monday night.

”We have now no money to extend our stay in Jammu,” a group of passengers said alleging that government has totally failed to provide them any help.

They alleged that the rate of hotel rooms besides eatables has witnessed increase after the closure of the highway.

The drivers alleged that they have now no ration and other essentials besides have lost their earning due to frequent closure of 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 Valley.

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.

Minister for Roads and Buildings, Abdul Rehman Veeri, said the redress of people’s grievances is “prime concern and all efforts are on” to provide required facilities to the stranded passengers and drivers.

He assured the stranded passengers that his government knew their problems and would take requisite steps to redress them.

He directed the officers concerned to take stringent action against the profiteers, especially the hoteliers who are charging exorbitant rates from the stranded passengers.

‘One-Way Traffic Today’

SRINAGAR: Keeping in view the condition of the road, especially between Udhampur-Ramsoo and Banihal to Levdora (Qazigund) coupled with narrow width of road at certain places, only one way movement of traffic is feasible/advisable on Srinagar-Jammu Highway.

As such subject to fair weather and good condition of road tomorrow on 07.02.2017 movement of traffic shall be allowed from Srinagar towards Jammu side in a regulated manner.

The movement of all the vehicles (excluding Trailers/multi-axle vehicles) shall be allowed from Levdora from 0800 hours and all these vehicles shall cross Jawahar Tunnel by 1400 hours positively.

No movement of traffic including that of convoys of Army, BSF, CRPF shall be allowed from Jammu towards Srinagar side on 07/02/2017under any circumstances to ensure hassle free movement of traffic.

Commuters are requested/advised that vehicles are not parked in any landslide/avalanche/vulnerable zones of highway especially from Ramsoo-Jawahar Tunnel-Levdora under any circumstances. All the vulnerable/avalanche prone zones should be kept free from any kind of traffic to avoid any eventuality.

People are requested not to undertake journey on Srinagar-Jammu Highway in case of bad weather.

They should contact TCU Srinagar (01942450022, 2485396), TCU Ramban (9419993745) and TCU Jammu (01912459048, 9419147732) and officers of Traffic wing to get the status of the road before starting their journey. (KNS)

Weather Turns Pleasant But More Downpour Predicted

SRINAGAR: Sun came out Monday afternoon much to the delight of the people after moderate to heavy snowfall during last two days in Kashmir valley, including summer capital, Srinagar, where majority of roads remained waterlogged due to melting of snow, adversely affecting normal life.

However, the Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) claimed that 80 dewatering pumps are functional in the city.

A Met department spokesperson said that light rain or snow may occur at isolated place during next 24 hours in J&K. But, he said during the subsequent 24 hours there will be dry weather in the region, which could result in chilly conditions.

The border town of Kargil was the coldest place in the region after mercury settled at minus 12.2 degree followed by world famous ski resort of Gulmarg, where temperature dipped six degree during the night.

The night temperature at Leh, which received 10.8 mm of rain during the last 24 hours, also dipped and settled at minus 7.6 degree, against minus 3.4 degree recorded yesterday.

Gulmarg, where the ski slopes were already under several feet of snow, received fresh 10 cm of snow and 4.4 mm of rain during the last 24 hours much to the delight of tourists.

The mercury at Gulmarg, which attracts skiers, tourists and adventure lovers from all over the globe because of its ski slopes during winter season, dipped six degrees from yesterday and settled at minus 9 degree, which is three notches below normal.

The weather has turned pleasant in Gulmarg and tourists are enjoying skiing on a sunny day. The ski slopes are already under about 10 feet of snow, a hotelier said.

After receiving 7.2 mm rain during the last 24 hours, the weather turned pleasant as sun came out much to the delight of the people in the summer capital, Srinagar though majority of the roads have been waterlogged, adversely affected normal life.

Even though SMC claims that 80 dewatering pumps are functional in the city, the situation on the ground was entirely different as vehicular and pedestrian movement was badly affected due to water logging.

There was some improvement in the night temperature though it was still below normal in Srinagar, where mercury surged and settled at minus 0.2 degree, against minus 0.7 degree recorded yesterday.

However, the day temperature witnessed considerable improvement due to sunshine in the afternoon.

The MeT said sky will be partially cloudy during the next 24 hours in Srinagar, where maximum and minimum temperatures will be around 7 degree and minus 1 degree respectively.

World famous health resort of Pahalgam, about 100-km from here in south Kashmir, received fresh 7 cm of snow and 34 mm of rain during the last 24 hours, resulting in dip of over 6 degree in the night temperature. Against minus 0.2 degree recorded yesterday, the night temperature was minus 6.6 degree.

The night temperature at Qazigund, gateway to Kashmir Valley, on the 300-km-long Highway, which remained closed for the fourth day today due to landslides, improved and settled at 0.8 degree, against 0.2 degree recorded yesterday. The night temperature at Qazigund was two notches above normal.

Another health resort Kokernag and Kupwara in north Kashmir also witnessed a dip in the night temperatures. Against minus 0.3 degree recorded yesterday at Kokernag, the night temperature was minus 0.7 degree while mercury dipped and settled at minus 2.8 degree, against 0.1 degree recorded yesterday at Kupwara

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