Banihal/Jammu- A fresh batch of over 3,000 Amarnath pilgrims left a base camp here for Kashmir on Saturday but their convoy was briefly stopped in Ramban following landslides at two places along the Jammu-Srinagar highway, officials said.
Landslides due to rains were reported from Mehar and Dalwas areas along the 270-km highway but after removal of debris traffic movement was restored, officials said.
The 20th batch of 3,472 pilgrims left the Bhagwati Nagar base camp in Jammu in 132 vehicles in the early hours of Saturday but the convoy was stopped at Chanderkote due to the closure of the highway, they said.
The pilgrims were later allowed to move towards their destinations in the Kashmir Valley to join the yatra, the officials said, adding they reached Banihal around noon.
Of them, 2,515 pilgrims are listed to undertake the yatra to the Amarnath cave shrine in the south Kashmir Himalayas from Pahalgam in Anantnag district and 957 by the Baltal route in Ganderbal district, the officials said.
Over three lakh pilgrims have already undertaken the pilgrimage to the shrine located at an altitude of 3,880 metres since it began on July 1.
Light to moderate rains and thunderstorms have been reported from many parts of Jammu and Kashmir, a meteorological department official said.
Rainfall is likely to continue throughout the day with forecast of heavy spells in certain areas such as those in Kathua district. This will be followed by intermittent light to moderate rain at scattered places on Sunday, he said.
A Gujjar hamlet at Ghadkhal in the Akhnoor sector on the outskirts of Jammu was inundated due to rise in the water level of the Chenab river in the morning. According to officials, the current water level of the Chenab at Akhnoor is 29.6 feet against the flood alert level of 32 feet.
The officials said a cloudburst around the Kota Nullah in Doda district early this morning washed away a stretch of the Thaleela-Chirala link road and creating a flood-like situation.
“The cloud burst coupled with heavy rain resulted in mudslides and a flood-like situation in Kota Nullah. However no loss of life or injury was reported. Men and machinery are being deployed to clear debris from the road and restore it at the earliest,” Sub Divisional Magistrate, Thathri, Athar Amin Zargar said.
He said the Doda-Kishtwar stretch of highway which also got closed between Shiva Pull to Thathri Petrol Pump has been restored for two way traffic.
Torrential rains continued in most parts of Doda and Kishtwar districts for the third day on Saturday, resulting in the increase in water level in the Chenab and its tributaries Neeru and Kalnai.
The authorities have advised people to remain cautious and stay away from rivers, streams, and other vulnerable spots.
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