Kashmir Highway Opens For Stranded Vehicles

BANIHAL/JAMMU — Hundreds of stranded vehicles, mostly trucks carrying essential supplies, were allowed to move towards Kashmir on Sunday, a day after heavy snowfall disrupted traffic on the vital 270-km Jammu-Srinagar national highway, officials said.

No fresh vehicle was allowed on the highway from either Jammu or Srinagar Sunday morning to ensure clearance of the trucks which were left stranded between Banihal and Ramban stretch since Saturday following over one feet of snow around the Jawahar Tunnel area, the officials said.

The authorities stopped traffic on the highway the only all weather road connectivity linking Kashmir with the rest of the country – around 11 am Saturday due to slippery conditions but later managed to clear over 500 passenger vehicles heading for Kashmir from Jammu.

The traffic on the highway is restricted to one-way for smooth movement of commuters and alternately plies from the twin capital cities. 

The high altitude areas along the highway including Jawahar Tunnel the gateway to Kashmir and Banihal experienced another brief spell of snowfall early Sunday morning but the improvement in the weather allowed the authorities to undertake the snow clearance operation to facilitate smooth movement of stranded trucks, the officials said.

They said the stranded trucks were allowed to move towards Kashmir around 11.30 am and the traffic is going on smoothly when last reports were received. 

The one-way traffic on the highway is expected to resume Monday.

Meanwhile, a bright sun shone in the winter capital Jammu after remaining hidden behind clouds for the last couple of days, providing much needed relief to the people from the cold. 

The improvement in the weather coincided with celebration of Lohri festival which marks the beginning of the harvest season and the culmination of winter.

A spokesman of the MET Department said Jammu recorded a minimum of 7.3 degrees Celsius, while the day temperature recorded on Saturday was 16.7 degrees Celsius, 1.2 notches below normal during this part of the season.  (PTI)

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