Major highways in Kashmir closed

The Srinagar-Sonamarg-Leh highway was closed for traffic on Saturday after fresh snowfall at the Zojila pass.

An official said the Zojila pass has been experiencing a fresh spell of moderate snowfall since Saturday morning, adding that around 8-10 inches of snow had accumulated due to which the traffic movement on Srinagar-Leh highway has been suspended. “The BRO personnel are on the job to clear the snow as early as possible to restore the traffic.”

Meanwhile, health resorts Sonamarg and Minamarg in Drass also received fresh snow on Saturday.

Traffic was suspended on the historic Mughal Road on Saturday following the continuous snowfall along the road.

An official said that Peer Ki Gali, the high altitude stretch of the 84-km long arterial road connecting twin districts of Poonch and Rajouri with Shopian, received a thin layer of snow which began on Saturday morning. He said that the traffic was suspended as a precautionary measure as the snowfall had left the road unsafe for travelling. Meanwhile, the Shopian district administration said that it was fully prepared  to meet any eventuality. It said that at least 10 snow clearing machines had been kept ready to clear snow from different roads of the district.

Razdan Pass, the gateway to Gurez valley at the elevation of around 12000 feet in North Kashmir, is draped under at least 1 feet snow blanket which began to fall from Friday night forcing the closure of the road to Gurez from both sides.

Sub-Divisional Magistrate Gurez, Mudasir Ahmad, said, “Razdan top has received almost 1 feet of snow while in the plains 3-inch snowfall was recorded from Saturday morning which stopped at 3:00 pm on Saturday”. The snowfall at Razdan has forced the closure of road on both sides, the SDM said. Ahmad said that in view of the predicted widespread snowfall “both Beacon and the Mechanical department are ready with men and machinery. I have already taken a review of the preparations.”

Traffic was also suspended on Kupwara- Karnah highway following heavy snowfall on Sadna Top. 

Sub Divisional Magistrate Karnah, Dr Bilal Ahmad, said that snowfall started from early morning and around six-feet snow has accumulated on Sadna Top. “After the snowfall, traffic movement on the highway has been stopped.  Only emergency vehicles are being allowed to move on towards their respective destination,” he added.

Traffic advisory:

A traffic advisory issued by the Traffic department said that in view of the inclement weather predictions by the MeT Department, “there are chances of blockade of 270- kilometre Srinagar-Jammu National Highway.”

“People are advised to avoid travel on Jammu-Srinagar highway,” the advisory read. However, as per the advisory subject to fair weather conditions and better road conditions, Light Motor Vehicles shall be allowed from Srinagar towards Jammu on Srinagar-Jammu highway. LMVs from Zig (Qazigund) will be allowed between 7 am to 12 noon after which no vehicle will be allowed to cross, the advisory read.

(With inputs from Irfan Raina in Ganderbal, Gulzar Bhat in Shopian, Tarique Rahim in Handwara, Ovais Farooqui in Bandipora)  GKNN