Shooting Stones, Landslides Block Highway

File Photo

Hundreds Of Load Carriers, Passenger Vehicles Stranded

Srinagar- The 270-km Jammu-Srinagar highway, the only motor-able road link, with rest of India was again closed on Monday due to snowfall and landslides, a traffic police official said.

The official said after initially allowing movement of some vehicles in the morning, traffic on the Srinagar-Jammu national highway was suspended after landslides and shooting stones at Batery Cheshma and Panthyal, triggered by rain.

There were about three to four inches of snowfall at Jawahar tunnel, Banihal and Shaitan Nallah and it was still snowing heavily when the reports last received at 0945 hrs, he said adding the road has become slippery due to which traffic movement was stopped.

The Light Motor Vehicles (LMVs) were to ply today from Jammu to Srinagar and Heavy Motor Vehicles (HMVs) from the opposite direction, he said.

The upper heights in Banihal on Jawahar tunnel area received more than one feet of snowfall, he said.

The National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) and Border Roads Organisation (BRO) has already put sophisticated machines and men at different places to clear the landslides and snow. However, continued snow and shooting stones are hampering the road clearance operation.

He said traffic will be resumed only after receiving green signal from the NHAI and BRO besides traffic police personnel deployed at different places on the highway.

However, he said, there is a forecast for more snow and rain during the next few days which could affect highway. People are advised to travel on the highway only after confirming the status of the road from Traffic Control Units (TCUs) in Srinagar, Jammu and Ramban, he said.

He said as per schedule LMVs were to ply from Jammu to Srinagar while HMVs from the opposite direction. Meanwhile, hundreds of vehicles, including those carrying passengers, are stranded on the highway.

Avalanche Warning Issued In 4 Districts

Meanwhile authorities in Kashmir issued an avalanche warning in four districts of the valley on Monday as the higher reaches of the union territory received moderate to heavy snowfall, while the plains were lashed by rains.

The avalanche warning has been issued in Kupwara, Bandipora and Baramulla districts of north Kashmir, and Ganderbal district in central Kashmir, officials said.

While a medium danger avalanche warning has been issued for the higher reaches of Kupwara and Bandipora districts, a low danger avalanche warning has been issued for the higher reaches of Ganderbal and Baramulla districts, they said.

The warning was issued in view of snowfall which started on Saturday and continued till Monday morning, they added.

According to the officials, this is the season’s first major snowfall in the famous ski resort of Gulmarg in Baramulla and the tourist resort of Sonamarg in Ganderbal.

Gulmarg received 19 cm of snow in the last 24 hours, while Pahalgam in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district received light snowfall, the officials said.

Gurez in north Kashmir’s Bandipora district, Zojilla Pass on the Srinagar-Leh highway, and Drass in Ladakh also received snowfall, they said.

Due to the snowfall, the authorities closed the Srinagar-Leh road, which connects Jammu and Kashmir with Ladakh, for traffic on Saturday, they added.

The officials said most of the areas in the plains of the Kashmir valley received rains, bringing down the temperature.

The meteorological department said while the weather improved significantly in both the UTs on Monday, light rain or snow at scattered places is likely during the next 24 hours.

10 Civilians Rescued From Sinthan Pass

Earlier 10 people, including two women and a child were rescued, after they were trapped in heavy snowfall at high altitude Sinthan pass in South Kashmir.

The rescue operation was carried out late Sunday night after information was received about a group of civilians stranded at Sinthan pass that connects Kishtwar district of Jammu region with Kashmir’s Anantnag, they said.

The rescue team, comprising army and police personnel, walked for five hours along the National Highway 244 in zero visibility conditions during the night and brought the stranded people to Sinthan ground where they were provided with food and shelter, they said.

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