Jammu-Srinagar National Highway closed after overnight snowfall, landslides

Jawahar Tunnel blocked after snowfall. GK photo

The 270-km Jammu-Srinagar National Highway was closed due to overnight snowfall and eight families were moved to safer locations after heavy rains triggered landslides in Gurmul village in Jammu and Kashmir’s Doda district, officials said on Saturday.

Nine inches of snow has accumulated on the ground at the Jawahar Tunnel of the highway and the road is blocked at several points due to landslides following rains in Marog, Magerkote and Panthiyal, they said.

Efforts are afoot to ensure early restoration of traffic on the strategic road that links the Kashmir region to the rest of the country, the officials said.

In Doda district of the Union Territory’s Jammu region, the officials said, eight families were moved to safer locations after heavy rains triggered shooting stones and landslides at Gurmul village in Kastigarh.

The families have been provided accommodation and relief material, including bedding, by the district administration, they said.

On the situation of the national highway, the officials said that a landslide hit the highway at Marog, a rockslide at Magerkote and there is continuous shooting stones from hillocks at Panthiyal.

They said that agencies concerned have pressed men and machine to clear the vital road.

The Mughal Road, an alternative route connecting Poonch and Rajouri districts in the Jammu region with south Kashmir’s Shopian district, was closed for traffic on December 8 following heavy snowfall in Pee Ki Gali and adjoining areas.

The road along with several other high-altitude routes, including the Simthan Top connecting Kishtwar district in the Jammu region with south Kashmir’s Anantnag district, usually remain closed during winter months owing to heavy snowfall.

Reports of three to nine inches of snowfall was received from different parts of Kishtwar district, including Marwah (seven inches), Warwan (nine), Machail (seven), Ishtiyari (five) and Kishtwar, Paddar and Dachin (four inches each), the officials said.

It was a sunny day in Jammu city after overnight rains.

The weather is improving gradually across Jammu and Kashmir and it is likely to remain overcast throughout the day in Ladakh, a spokesperson of the meteorological department said.

“No major snowfall activity is expected till December 20,” the spokesperson said, adding there was widespread rain and snow in Jammu and Kashmir, Kargil and higher reaches of Leh throughout the night.