Landslides Again Block Jammu-Srinagar Highway

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Jammu- The Jammu-Srinagar national highway was closed again due to fresh landslides in Ramban district on Tuesday, triggering massive traffic jams on the stretch, officials sources said.

Many truckers, who are stranded on the highway for the past several days, blamed the traffic management authorities for not allowing them to move on, causing them huge financial losses as perishable goods they carry have been damaged.

The highway was closed for traffic due to a landslide in the Mehar area of Ramban, the official sources said.

The men and machines are working to clear the highway of the debris and shooting stones, which pose a grave danger to the lives of the people, they said.

Massive traffic jams were seen at many places on the highway.

The 270-km Jammu-Srinagar national highway was reopened for traffic on Monday after remaining closed for the past three days owing to heavy snowfall and multiple landslides in Ramban district.

The highway, the only all-weather road linking Kashmir with the rest of the country, was closed for traffic on Friday afternoon, shortly after it was opened after two days closure, following heavy snowfall and multiple landslides between Chanderkote and Ramsu.

While passenger vehicles and some vehicles carrying essentials were allowed to move towards the Kashmir Valley on Monday, others remained stranded on the stretch.

Some vehicle owners protested over their halt on the highway and said the perishable items in their vehicles have destroyed.

"We have been stranded on the highway for the past five days. We are carrying vegetables and most of them have perished. If they allow vehicles carrying chicken, why have they halted vehicles carrying vegetables? It has caused us a grave loss," a trucker, Sadiq, told reporters.

Sub-Zero Temperatures Grip Kashmir

Sub-zero temperatures returned to the Kashmir Valley as the mercury plunged with Gulmarg and Pahalgam witnessing extreme cold conditions, officials said on Tuesday.

Gulmarg, the famous ski resort in Baramulla district, recorded a low of minus 10.6 degrees Celsius. This is for the third straight night that the minimum temperature in Gulmarg has fallen to minus 10 degrees Celsius or below, meteorological officials said.

South Kashmir's Pahalgam recorded a low of minus 10.4 degrees Celsius, a drop of nearly eight degrees, they said.

Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir, was the only place where the minimum temperature was above the freezing point at 0.2 degrees Celsius last night, the officials said.

Qazigund recorded a low of minus 0.6 degrees Celsius, while the nearby south Kashmir town of Kokernag recorded a minimum temperature of minus 1.7 degrees Celsius, they said.

The mercury settled at a low of minus 3 degrees Celsius in north Kashmir's Kupwara.

The MeT office said the weather is likely to stay mainly dry over the next few days.

The Kashmir Valley is currently under the grip of the 40-day harshest winter period known as 'Chilla-i-Kalan' that began on December 21.

During 'Chilla-i-Kalan', a cold wave grips the region and the temperature drops considerably leading to the freezing of water bodies, including the famous Dal Lake here, and the water supply lines in several parts of the Valley.

The chances of snowfall are the maximum during this period and most areas, especially in the higher reaches, receive heavy to very heavy snowfall.

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