Snow Stops, Highway Still Shut

Landslide on Kashmir Highway - File Pic

SRINAGAR - Traffic on the Srinagar-Jammu highway, connecting Kashmir valley with the rest of the country, was again closed on Saturday following fresh snowfall, landslides and shooting stones on Friday evening.

Over 4000 vehicles, including those carrying passengers, are stranded on the highway during the past 24 hours.

Meanwhile, the Srinagar-Leh national highway and historic 86-km-long Mughal road and Anantnag-Kishtwar roads remained closed for the past eleven days on Saturday due to accumulation of several feet of snow and slippery road condition.

Traffic on the highway was suspended on Wednesday night following landslides and shooting stones at Sheer Bibi. However, the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) immediately pressed into service sophisticated machines and men to remove the debris from the highway. Later, traffic from Jammu to Srinagar was allowed on Friday after landslides and shooting stones were removed, a traffic police official said.

However, there was fresh snowfall and landslides and shooting stones, triggered by rain forcing authorities to suspend traffic on the highway at 1700 hrs on Friday. There was about one foot to two feet of snowfall on both sides of the Jawahar tunnel, Banihal and Shaitan nallah besides landslides between Ramban and Ramsu.

He said the NHAI was working to put through the traffic on the highway. Once a green signal is received vehicles, stranded on the highway, will be allowed to move towards their respective destinations, he said.

Passengers stranded in Ramban and other areas on the highway alleged that there is absolutely no arrangement for them and truckers. There is absolutely no facility of wash rooms and drinking water. They further alleged that hotel owners were charging more than double and a cup of tea was being sold at very high prices without any checking. Majority passengers, including children and elderly persons remained without food since last evening.

Traffic official said only one-way traffic will be allowed on the highway till further orders as the road at several places is very narrow where only one vehicle can pass at a time. He appealed to people to strictly follow the advisory being issued by the traffic department daily. However, drivers and people travelling on the highway alleged that there is traffic jam for hours almost daily between Qazigund to Ramsu almost daily because vehicles are being allowed to ply from both sides.

He appealed to people to contact Traffic Control Units (TCUs) at Srinagar, Jammu and Ramban before starting journey on the highway.

There was fresh snowfall on the historic Mughal road, linking Shopian in south Kashmir with Rajouri and Poonch in Jammu region which remained closed for the past eleven days on Saturday due to accumulation of snowfall and slippery road conditions . There was several feet of fresh snowfall during the past 24 hours on the highway, particularly at Pir-ki-Gali and  Harpora.

The 434-km-long national highway, the only road connecting Union Territory (UT) of Ladakh with Kashmir also remained closed for the past eleven days on Saturday due to accumulation of snow and slippery road conditions. There was fresh snowfall during the past 24 hours on the highway. The Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir, has already announced closure of the highway for winter months. However, UT Ladakh said they were not consulted before announcing closure of the highway.

Air Traffic Resumes At Srinagar Airport

Air-traffic resumed on Saturday after remaining suspended since Friday afternoon at Srinagar International Airport due to snowfall and poor visibility.

Air traffic was suspended Friday afternoon following snowfall and poor visibility, an official of airport said. All the incoming and outgoing flights were cancelled.

There was again poor visibility in the morning on Saturday. However, air traffic was resumed at 1100 hrs today after visibility improved, he said adding flights are now landing and taking off at the airport.

Early this month air traffic remained suspended for about ten days due to poor visibility and snowfall. (With inputs From Agencies)


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