Dry Weather Conditions To Continue in Kashmir Valley

KO File Photo: Abid Bhat

Srinagar- Kashmir continued to reel under cold weather conditions with the minimum temperature dropping in most parts of the Valley, officials said on Wednesday.

The meteorological department has predicted dry but slightly cold weather for the next few days, they said.

Srinagar -- the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir -- recorded a low of minus 1.6 degrees Celsius, down from the previous night's 1.2 degrees Celsius, the officials said.

Qazigund -- the gateway town to the valley -- recorded a minimum of minus 3.8 degrees Celsius, up from the previous night's low of minus 4.3 degrees Celsius, they said.

Pahalgam tourist resort, which also serves as a base camp for the annual Amarnath yatra in south Kashmir, recorded a low of minus 4.0 degrees Celsius -- down from minus 2.2 degrees Celsius the previous night.

The minimum temperature at the Gulmarg skiing resort, in north Kashmir's Baramulla district, settled at minus 4.0 degrees Celsius -- down half-a-degree from the previous night, the officials said.

Kupwara town, in north Kashmir, recorded a low of minus 1.8 degrees Celsius, while Kokernag, in the south, minus 3.5 degrees Celsius.

The MeT office has said the weather is expected to remain mainly dry for the week ahead.

Traffic Allowed On Highway

Fresh traffic from Jammu to Srinagar was on Wednesday allowed to ply on 270-km-long national highway, which connects Kashmir valley with the rest of the country, after clearing stranded vehicles till late last evening.

However, only stranded trucks and load carriers -- carrying essential commodities and other items -- will be allowed to move towards Kashmir on the highway.

“Hundreds of vehicles left Jammu for Kashmir on Wednesday morning as fresh traffic was allowed to ply on the national highway after clearing the vehicles, which were stranded on the road for several hours on Tuesday due to landslides, till late last evening,” a traffic police official said.

He said traffic on the highway was suspended on Tuesday afternoon due to fresh landslides at Marog in Ramban district. However, he said the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) has already pressed into service sophisticated machines and cleared the landslides. “The vehicles, stranded at various places on the national highway, were cleared till late last evening,” he added.

Light Motor Vehicles (LMVs) will have to cross Nagrota (Jammu) between 0600 hrs and 1100 hrs on Wednesday. “The LMVs will have to cross Jakheni (Udhampur) between 0700 hrs and 1200 hrs,” he said, adding that no vehicles will be allowed before and after cut off timing.

He said only stranded Heavy Motor Vehicles (HMVs) in Udhampur will be allowed to move towards Kashmir.

Security forces have been advised not to ply against traffic plan in view of traffic congestion on the highway and narrowness of bailey bridge at Kela morh, where main concrete bridge was damaged after a retaining wall collapsed on January 10 evening. The baily bridge was installed by Border Roads Organisation (BRO) after National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) said it will take time to repair the damage. “Working on the retaining wall was going on, but it was not immediately clear when the work will be completed,” he added.

Frequent closure of the highway since its expansion has been a major cause of concern for the people living in Kashmir valley, where suspension of traffic results in increase in the rates of essential commodities by many folds.

The historic 86-km-long Mughal road, connecting Poonch and Rajouri in Jammu region with Shopian in south Kashmir and Anantnag-Sampthan-Kishtwar road remained closed since last week of December last year due to accumulation of snow and slippery conditions. “The national highway, the only road linking Union Territory (UT) of Ladakh with Kashmir, has been closed since January 1 for winter months,” he said. (with PTI inputs)

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