Islamabad, Feb 11: The 300-km long Srinagar- Jammu highway, the only road link connecting the valley with rest of the world, was thrown open for vehicular late Wednesday evening, after remaining closed for traffic movement for five consecutive days. The road was closed following heavy snowfall and incessant rains across the valley.
Thousands of passengers were stranded at many places on both sides of the tunnel between Qazigund and Ramban due to closure of the highway as well on the link roads.
Speaking to Greater Kashmir, Senior Superintendent Police (SSP) Traffic, National Highway, Alok Kumar said, “We restored the traffic on the national highway only after the avalanche warning, issued by snow and avalanche study establishment (SASE), ended at 5 pm Wednesday.
He said between from 5 pm to 12’o clock in the night, more than one thousand passenger vehicles and trucks stranded at Qazigund were allowed to move towards Jammu while around 500 vehicles stranded on other side of the tunnel at various places between Banihal to Ramban were allowed to move towards their respective destinations in Srinagar from 12 pm to 6 am this morning.
“In the morning the traffic on the national highway was restored from both sides, “ he said adding there is not a single passenger vehicle or a load carrier stranded at any place along the highway now.
Superintendent of Police (SP) traffic rural GM Wadoo said that the delay in restoring the traffic on the highway was caused due to the threat of avalanches and landslides.
“The road was cleared of snow and the debris of landslides on Wednesday, but the threat of avalanches and landslides forced us to keep the road closed till late in the evening on Wednesday,” said Wadoo.
He said that had there been no avalanche and landslide warnings, the traffic would have been restored early in the morning on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Batote-Doda road also re-opened after a stretch was made motorable at Assar. However, Doda-Kishtwar road continued to remain blocked due to landslides at Thathri. Batote-Doda-Kishtwar road is closed for last four days due to landslides triggered by heavy rains in the area.
Meanwhile, the people of the upper reaches of Lower Munda and Qazigund who were shifted to safer places by the district administration on Wednesday in wake of avalanche warning, were allowed to move back to their homes today.
“As the avalanche warning period ended last evening, the villagers shifted from the avalanche-prone zones of the Qazigund and Lower Munda were allowed to go back to their homes this morning,” said Additional Deputy Commissioner, Islamabad, Basheer Ahmad Khan.
RESPITE FROM COLD
People of the state got respite from biting cold conditions Thursday as night temperatures improved due to cloudy cover overnight.
Pahalgam, a hill resort in south Kashmir, recorded a low of minus 2.8 degrees C today against minus 11.8 deg C yesterday, a Met official said. Gulmarg, a resort in north Kashmir, recorded a minimum of minus 5.6 deg C.
Srinagar recorded a low of 0.1 deg C against minus 2.5 deg C yesterday. Kupwara in north and Kokernag in south kashmir recorded a minimum of minus 1.1 deg C and minus 1.6 deg C. Katra in Jammu region recorded a low of 9.4 deg C against 4.8 deg C yesterday followed by Jammu 8.2 deg C. Batote settled at 2.3 deg C, while Banihal had 0.4 deg C.
(With inputs from PTI)
Lastupdate on : Thu, 11 Feb 2010 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Thu, 11 Feb 2010 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Fri, 12 Feb 2010 00:00:00 IST
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