Massive Landslides Force Closure of Kashmir Highway

SRINAGAR: The 300-km-long Sirinagar-Jammu highway has been shut once again on Monday due to massive landslides, triggered by rain.

“We have closed the highway as there were massive landslides at several places,” a traffic police official told UNI today, when traffic was to ply from Jammu to Srinagar.

He said there were landslides at Digdol, Penthal, Batri Cheshma and several other places between Ramban and Ramsu.

The Border Roads Organisation (BRO), responsible for the maintainance of the highway have already pressed into service sophisticated machines and men to clear the landslides. However, threat of more avalanches and shooting stones has hampered the landslide clearance operation.

Traffic on the highway had been frequently disrupted on the highway since January 6 when there was first heavy snowfall in the region after about six month dry spell.

Though the BRO had been making all efforts to keep the highway open, but heavy snowfall coupled with landslides forced authorities to close the highway frequently during the past two months to avoid any accident and traffic jam.

The traffic department has later decided to allow only one-way traffic on the highway for free movement of vehicles.

However, frequent closure of the highway and allowing only one-way traffic has resulted in increase in prices of essentials, particularly fresh vegetables as there is hardly any local vegetable available in the valley during winter.

Meanwhile, almost all vehicles which left Kashmir valley yesterday for Jammu have reached their destinations till late last night.

Hundreds of vehicles, including those carrying essentials for Kashmir valley have been stopped at Udhampur, Nagrota and other places.

The stranded vehicles will be allowed only when a green signal is received from BRO and traffic police officials posted at several places on the highway. However, no vehicle will be allowed from Srinagar even if the traffic is restored today, he asserted.

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