Ramban, July 29: The Srinagar Jammu National Highway was reopened on Friday after having remained shut for over 30 hours due to torrential rains triggering landslides and shooting stones in Ramban district.
SSP Ramban Mohita Sharma, while updating the status of NH-44, tweeted, “Up convoys have left Yatris Niwas towards the valley after weather and road conditions improved in Ramban.”
Officials said the scheduled convoys of Amarnath Yatra, carrying around 700 pilgrims who left Bhagwati Nagar Jammu this morning and more than 1600 Amarnath pilgrims, who were stranded and accommodated in SASB Yatri Niwas Chanderkote, due to blockade of road on Thursday, were also allowed to move for the two Yatra base camps at Pahalgam and Baltal in Kashmir after reopening of the road on priority.
Officials at Traffic Control Unit (TCU) National Highway Ramban said, “The highway was reopened and stranded vehicles were allowed to move towards their respective destinations. Now, the highway is open for two-way traffic of private cars, and passenger Light Motor Vehicles (LMVs) and one way traffic of heavy motor vehicles for Kashmir.”
Traffic officials monitoring regulation at Mehar said that hundreds of stranded load carriers, oil and gas tankers, allowed from Jakhani-Udhampur, had crossed Chenani-Nashri and Banihal-Qazigund tunnels towards Kashmir this afternoon. They said traffic would be allowed during night also.
Heavy rains that lashed the area on Thursday morning at around 4.30 am, triggering mud and landslide on Mehar-Cafeteria Morh stretch between Ramban and Chanderkote and shooting stones at Panthyal between Ramban-Ramsu sectors damaging temporary steel tunnel, had led to closure of the highway due to which vehicular traffic remained suspended for 30 hours.
Officials said that the highway was restored after the men and machinery of the concerned agency of NHAI worked round the clock and prepared a single-lane between Mehar to Cafeteria Morh and removed the damaged iron girders from the road at Panthyal. “The traffic resumed this morning at around 11 am,” they said.
They said that soon after the road was reopened, the vehicles carrying Amarnath pilgrims were allowed to move. They said, “After that stranded private cars, passenger light motor vehicles, and load carriers were also allowed to move on both sides of the highway.”
However, those travelling on the highway maintained that the traffic on the highway was moving at snail’s pace between Ramban and Banihal sector.
Authorities claimed, “We are making the efforts round the clock for making hassle-free traffic movement on highway by clearing bottle necks developed by the mud and landslides due to the incessant rains that lashed the area during the last few days.”
Meanwhile Jammu Kashmir Traffic Police headquarters issued an advisory stating that subject to fair weather and good road conditions, the passenger LMVs would be allowed to move on both sides whereas heavy motor vehicles would be allowed from Qazigund to move towards Jammu after assessing the traffic situation on the highway on Saturday.
The cut-off timing for the LMVs and private cars will be 7.30 am to 11.30 am from Nagrota-Jammu and 8.30 am to 12.30 pm from Jakhani (Udhampur).
The cut-off timings for the Jammu-bound LMVs will be 11.30 am to 2 pm from Qazigund. The operators of private cars and other passengers of LMVs have been advised to use the Jawahar Tunnel route up to 2 pm. Heavy motor vehicles will be allowed to move towards Jammu from Qazigund after assessing the traffic situation on the highway on Saturday afternoon.
“TCU Srinagar and Jammu shall liaise with TCU Ramban before releasing the traffic,” the advisory added.