The traffic on the Jammu-Srinagar national highway was suspended on Wednesday evening after heavy rains triggered shooting of stones from the hillocks overlooking the arterial road in Ramban district, officials said.
The 270-km highway, the only all weather road linking Kashmir with the rest of the country, was closed around 5.15 pm as a precautionary measure to ensure the safety of the commuters following incidents of sliding of rocks from the hills in Ramban sector, they said.
Heavy rains lashed the Jammu-Srinagar national highway throughout the day with Banihal on the Jammu side of the Jawahar Tunnel – the gateway to Kashmir – receiving 19.6 mm of rainfall, the officials said, adding the highway town of Qazigund on the other side recorded 24.8 mm of rainfall during the day.
A hailstorm also hit Banihal and adjoining areas, the officials said.
“There were incidents of shooting of stones from the hillocks overlooking the highway at various places between Ramban and Ramsu including Moumpassi, Digdole and Panthiyal,” an official of the traffic department said.
Most of the traffic was cleared but there are still 1,200 Kashmir-bound trucks and about 400 light motor vehicles which are stranded at various places on the highway, he said.
The official said the light motor vehicles were allowed to move on the highway from both sides in the morning, while the Jammu-bound trucks were cleared till the afternoon.
The authorities concerned are monitoring the situation and a decision to resume traffic on the highway depends on the improvement in the weather and clearance of the road, he said.
He said there is a threat of landslides and the stranded vehicles were shifted to safer places.