The Jammu-Srinagar National Highway remained blocked for the third consecutive day due to multiple landslides triggered by rains at various places between Banihal and Nashri in the Ramban district on Wednesday. However, Banihal-Jawahar tunnel stretch of highway was thrown open after accumulated snow was cleared by the BRO.
Traffic officials said fresh landslides hit the highway at least at 15 places between Nashri and Banihal. Incessant rains that lashed the area, during the intervening night of March 23 and March 24, triggered fresh landslides at Mehar Cafeteria Morh, Chamba, Seri, Kelamorh, Monkey Morh, Maroog, Digdool, Anokhi Fall, Mompassi, Ramsu and various other places in addition to Panthiyal resulting in blockade of the highway.
The movement of the vehicular traffic has remained halted since Monday evening. "There is no chance of restoration even today," said the concerned officers.
"Heavy mud, landslides, boulders and shooting stones at various places on the highway were hampering road restoration work. However, after improvement in weather conditions on Wednesday, the men and machinery have been pressed into service for clearing the mud and landslides' debris, boulders and stones from the highway," they added.
"Curbs have been imposed on the movement on and along the highway. Only private Light Motor Vehicles (LMVs) are being permitted towards Jammu from Ramban via Maitra," they informed. Overnight heavy rains have created havoc on the highway at various places between Nashri-Ramban and Ramban-Banihal as a result the Kashmir valley remained cut off from the rest of the country for the third consecutive day today.
Two Sub Divisions Banihal, Ramsu and tehsil Rajgarh Batote also remained cut off from the district headquarter Ramban.
Some passengers preferred to walk on foot to reach their destinations as the movement of traffic was strictly stopped by the traffic police on the National Highway. No vehicle was being allowed to cross Police naka established in the outskirts of Ramban town by the administration.
"We have stopped all types of vehicular traffic as fresh landslides have occurred on the highway at various places between Udhampur and Banihal. Shooting stones are rolling down from the hillocks on the highway besides the continuous downpour in the area since Sunday is hampering the road restoration work," said DySP Traffic National Highway Ramban.
However, after the weather started improving, the company pressed its men and machinery to restore the highway on war- footing, informed a manager of the contractor company engaged for restoration work on NH1A. He was on the spot monitoring restoration work at Mehar ahead of Ramban.
Meanwhile, the Nashri to Banihal stretch has become prone to landslides and the company responsible for maintenance was unable to meet the challenges posed by nature due to unplanned and random earth cutting and excavation in this sector.
Earlier, on Tuesday evening Mehar Ramban 2KM stretch of highway was cleared of mud and landslides for a brief period. But heavy overnight rains again blocked this stretch at 5 different locations.
A valley-bound truck also got stuck in a landslide between Mehar and Ramban, however, both the driver and his helper escaped unhurt.
Till the filing of this report, the road restoration work was in progress at several places between Nashri and Banihal sector of highway.