1150 Trucks, 150 LMVs Stranded On Highway
Jammu- Incessant rains triggered landslides and flash floods along the Srinagar-Jammu highway forcing the closure of the strategic surface link for the second straight day Wednesday, leaving over a 1200 heavy and light motor vehicles stranded.
Flash floods triggered by heavy rains washed away the shuttering of an under-construction bridge and a 150-foot section of the Jammu-Srinagar national highway even as landslides in Ramban and Udhampur districts forced closure of the strategic road for the second consecutive day on Wednesday, officials said.
The traffic on the Mughal Road, which connects the twin districts of Poonch and Rajouri in the Jammu region with south Kashmir’s Shopian district, was also suspended due to landslides, they said.
“The shuttering of under-construction Peerah bridge was washed away due to heavy rains (on highway)”, police official said, adding that the one which is normally used for traffic is safe.
In Udhampur district, a 150-foot stretch of the Jammu-Srinagar highway was washed away on Wednesday near Toldi Nallah, 16 kilometers away from Udhampur town, they said. Many machines were involved in the work to restore the road patch swept away in the flash floods in the Tawi river.
“Chances of road opening today are minimal. There are no reports of any loss of life”, they said.”The Jammu-Srinagar highway is blocked due to fresh shooting stones and landslides at several places in Ramban district,” a traffic official said.
There are over 33 landslides, mudslides and incidents of shooting stones reported on the 270-km highway in Ramban and Udhampur districts, they said. The highway was closed for traffic due to shooting stones at Panthiyal on Tuesday. Work is on to clear the highway, the officials said.
The situation at Battery Cheshma on the highway is bad as a lot of mud is to be cleared to ensure that heavy vehicles trapped in it are cleared, they said.
The road connecting Khari to Mahoo and Khari to Nachlana blocked due to mudslide and shooting stones and part of the road sank at Hirnihaal, they said, adding the people are again advised not to venture out.
As highway continues to be closed for traffic, stranded passengers were provided with food and medical facilities, they said. It is still raining in Ramsoo-Ramban sector as of now, the officials said.
SSP National Highway Shabir Ahmad Malik told Kashmir Observer that till Tuesday, about 1650 vehicles were stranded on the highway near Ramban.
“100 LMVs from Jammu to Srinagar were allowed to pass Ramban after the highway was cleared and made functional for vehicular movement. However, a new landslide has again blocked the road and the movement of vehicles has been stopped. As of now, we’ve about 1100 HMVs and 150 LMVs stuck on the highway,” Malik said.
The official further added that the vehicles won’t be allowed to pass Ramban till Thursday evening.
“The men and machinery are already on the job. Passenger safety is of utmost importance to us. That’s why, it’ll take another day to clear the road. All vehicles will be allowed to leave Ramban from Friday, ” the SSP added.
The Mughal Road is blocked due to landslides at Poshana while the SSG road is blocked at Chini nallah and efforts are on to clear them, they said.
However, heavy rains are hindering the cleaning operation, the officials said.
Meanwhile, the Deputy Commissioner, Ramban, Mussarat Islam on Wednesday monitored the road clearance operation at various places on national highway and the arrangements for the stay of passengers stranded in the area due to blockade of the road.
According to an official spokesperson, the DC said that landslides blocked the highway at Mehar, Panthyal, Shanpalace, Marog, where the clearance work was on. The DC, he said, also stated the road will be cleared for vehicular traffic very soon.
“Meanwhile, the district administration has made arrangements for night stay, meals and other facilities for the stranded passengers” the DC said.
According to the spokesperson, the DC directed the executing agencies to depute adequate men and machinery to clear the landslides to avoid prolonged traffic breakdown and ensure early restoration of the road.
“He appealed to the commuters to contact traffic control rooms before starting their journey on the highway,” he added. (With PTI inputs)
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