Srinagar: No traffic was allowed on the strategic Jammu-Srinagar highway on Monday for the fourth consecutive day as Kashmir valley remained cut off from the rest of the country,.
For the fourth day consecutive day the 300-km-long national highway remained closed due to fresh heavy snowfall and landslides, said authorities.
However, majority Kashmir-bound vehicles, stranded at different places after the closure of the highway, have been cleared though more than 2000 empty trucks, oil tankers and trucks loaded with fruit remained stranded on this side of the Jawahar tunnel.
Closure of the highway has resulted in shortage of essentials, particularly fresh vegetables, fruits, meat and chicken though in some areas these items were available on very high rates.
The highway remained closed though Border Roads Organisation (BRO), responsible for the maintenance of the only road linking the Kashmir valley with the rest of the country, have pressed into service sophisticated machines and men to put through the road.
Due to fresh snowfall on the highway, particularly at Qazigund, Jawahar tunnel, Shaitan Nallah and Banihal and landslides between Ramban and Ramsu and Patnitop, the highway remained closed for any traffic movement, said 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.
being allowed every morning but only to return from Udhampur. ”We have now no money to extend our stay in Jammu,” they 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.
They said a sophisticated machine was hit by a big stone during landslide clearance operation and fell into a deep gorge on the highway. However, timely rescue operation saved the driver of the vehicle and other workers.
The BRO have made Qazigund to Banihal portion operational after clearing more than one foot of fresh snowfall.
However, about 2000 Jammu-bound empty trucks and oil tankers besides trucks loaded with fruits are still stranded on this side of the tunnel, mostly at Lavdara and Qazigund. However, there is no passenger vehicles stranded, they said.
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 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.
Meanwhile, Inspector general of police (Traffic) Shafat Wali said traffic will be resumed only after there is improvement in the weather and road is declared safe for journey.
He urged driver not to park their vehicles in avalanche prone areas on the highway.
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