Kashmir Highway Closed Amid Snowfall, Landslides

Trucks stranded on Kashmir Highway | KO File Photo

Banihal- The strategic Jammu-Srinagar National Highway remained closed due to snowfall and landslides at several places, leaving hundreds of commuters stranded, officials said.

The train service between the 136-km Banihal-Baramulla Section was also suspended due to the inclement weather conditions, the officials said.

Senior Superintendent of Police, traffic, Shabir Ahmad Malik said the 270-km Jammu-Srinagar National Highway remained closed since Friday afternoon due to heavy snowfall in Banihal sector and multiple landslides in Ramban district.

The traffic on the highway was restored early Friday after remaining suspended for the past two days due to the inclement weather. However, it was again suspended in the afternoon due to continuous snowfall and rains that triggered landslides at nearly half a dozen places including Karol, Maroog, Moum Passi and digdole.

"About 50 light motor vehicles (LMVs) were left stranded due to the closure of the highway. A number of trucks also remained stranded while some 300 trucks carrying essential supplies to Kashmir including fuel and fresh vegetables were cleared," Malik said.

The officials said the stranded passengers including a group of 26 tourists from Gujarat were shifted to community halls in Ramban sector and were provided all necessary assistance including food and blankets during the night.

Due to the heavy snowfall in the valley, the officials said the train service between Banihal and Baramulla sector was suspended as a precautionary measure to avoid any untoward incident.

Snowfall ranging between a few inches to over five feet was recorded in most parts of Jammu and Kashmir, while Jammu city and other plains were lashed by heavy rains during the past 24 hours, the officials said.

The hilly areas of Jammu including Kishtwar, Bhaderwah, Doda, Reasi, Poonch and Rajouri experienced major snowfall, disrupting normal life, the officials said.

They said the traffic on the Jammu-Poonch highway was also suspended due to heavy snowfall in several areas in the twin border belts of Poonch and Rajouri.

Head constable Abdul Rashid was injured when an official vehicle of a police officer rolled down into a gorge at Patnitop in Udhampur district Friday evening, the officials said, adding the injured was hospitalised.

The Patnitop hill resort, a star attraction for tourists visiting Jammu region during winters, recorded nearly one feet of snow, the officials said.

The department has predicted heavy to very heavy snow and rains across Jammu and Kashmir till January 9.

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