Highway closed for 3rd straight day; 5000 vehicles stranded

The Jammu-Srinagar National Highway, the only all-weather road connecting Kashmir valley with the rest of the world, remained closed for the third consecutive day on Friday. With the meteorological department predicting rain during the next 24 hours, the prospect of the highway’s opening anytime soon remains grim.

“The road is still closed and there has been no headway,” Traffic Inspector General of Police Alok Kumar told Greater Kashmir.

The highway was closed Wednesday following massive landslides at Digdol along the 300-km-long road.

The IGP said that more than 5000 vehicles are stranded on the highway on both sides of the Banihal tunnel.

“The road clearance work is underway at several places but shooting stones are hampering the clearance operation,” he said, asserting that while they are trying to re-open the highway “chances of its immediate opening seem to be bleak”.

“Once the road re-opens, we will clear stranded vehicles,” he said and asked the travellers to plan their journeys on the highway only after contacting the traffic control units.

Inclement weather has led to closure of the highway several times this winter, leading to shortage of essential supplies to the Valley.

Traffic police officials said that the traffic on the 84-km mountainous Mughal Road, connecting the twin districts of Poonch and Rajouri in Jammu region with south Kashmir’s Shopian, plied normally on Friday.

The Mughal Road, an alternate link between Kashmir and rest of the country, was Wednesday opened for traffic after remaining closed for four months owing to heavy snowfall during winter.

Meanwhile MeT officials predicted light to moderate rain during the next 24 hours in several parts of the Valley.