Kashmir Highway Reopens After 2 Days

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Vehicles stranded on Kashmir Highway – File Pic

SRINAGAR – The 270-km Jammu-Srinagar highway was cleared on Monday after remaining closed for over 42 hours following a massive landslide in Ramban district which had left thousands of vehicles stranded, traffic department officials said.

However, no fresh vehicular traffic was allowed from either Jammu or Srinagar for the third consecutive day to facilitate smooth movement of thousands of stranded commuters, they said.

A massive landslide struck the highway at Digdole on Saturday evening, blocking the only all weather road linking Kashmir with rest of the country and leaving thousands of vehicles, mostly trucks, stranded.

After hectic efforts by the road clearance agencies spanning over 42 hours, the road was cleared of the landslide debris and made traffic worthy this morning to allow the movement of stranded vehicles, officials said.

They said a decision to allow fresh traffic from either Srinagar or Jammu will be decided later in the day.

The traffic on the highway is restricted to one-way during the winter months and plies alternatively from Srinagar and Jammu to avoid traffic jam due to ongoing four-laning work.

Fresh snowfall in Jawahar Tunnel — the gateway to Kashmir — and multiple landslides between Ramsoo and Panthiyal in Ramban district forced closure of the highway on Friday evening.

The highway was cleared on Saturday but a fresh landslide at Digdole again disrupted the traffic.

Meanwhile, severe cold conditions returned to Jammu region on Monday after the night temperature plummeted again.

The residents of Jammu city woke up to a chilly morning with minimum temperature settling two degrees below the season’s average at 6.2 degrees Celsius, down by 2.5 notches against the previous night’s 8.7 degrees Celsius, an official of the meteorological department said.

Katra, which serves as the base camp for the pilgrims visiting Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine in Reasi district, recorded a minimum of 5.7 degrees Celsius against the previous night’s 6.2 degrees Celsius, the official said.

He said the snow-bound Bhaderwah town in Doda district was the coldest recorded place in Jammu region with a low of minus 1.8 degrees Celsius.

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