Kashmir Highway Remains Closed

Vehicles stranded on Kashmir Highway - File Pic

SRINAGAR -  Efforts continued on Monday to clear the debris of a massive landslide that blocked the strategic Jammu-Srinagar national highway in Ramban district, officials said, even as the weather office predicted a fresh spell of snow and rains later this week.

A massive landslide struck the highway at Digdole on Sunday afternoon, covering around 150 metres of the arterial road, leaving thousands of commuters stranded.

"Despite hectic efforts by the road clearing agencies, the highway is unlikely to open for traffic today (Monday)," Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Traffic, National Highway Ramban, Suresh Sharma told PTI.

He said men and machines are on the job and efforts are going on to restore the highway as soon as possible.

"It was a massive landslide and the area where it struck is narrow, allowing only a couple of machines to operate," he said, adding that once the clearance operation gets completed, the road position and the condition of the retaining wall will be reviewed before allowing the traffic.

He said over 2,500 light motor vehicles and trucks are stranded on both sides of the highway and clearance would be given to these vehicles first once the road is made traffic-worthy.

The 270-km highway, the only all-weather road linking Kashmir with rest of the country, was closed for traffic on Thursday after most parts of Kashmir and high altitude areas of the Jammu region, including the Jawahar Tunnel -- the gateway to the valley -- experienced the first major snowfall of the season.

However, the highway was opened for traffic on Saturday but multiple landslides triggered by heavy rains in Ramban sector frequently disrupted the movement of vehicles.

Meanwhile, the Mughal Road, which connects the border districts of Poonch and Rajouri in Jammu region with south Kashmir's Shopian district, remained closed for the sixth day on Monday, they said.

The road was closed for traffic on Wednesday after heavy snowfall in Pir Ki Gali area, the officials said, adding that the snow clearance operation is going on when last reports were received.

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