Around 2000 vehicles carrying stranded passengers moved from Jammu to Kashmir as the highway continued to remain open for one-way traffic for the second consecutive day Wednesday, officials said.
Inspector general of traffic police Alok Kumar told Greater Kashmir that they are clearing the stranded passengers and vehicles, including trucks and load carriers, on priority.
"We will devote whole day Thursday to clear stranded traffic so that there is no mess of any kind on the road," Kumar said.
The highway was closed on past Wednesday after rains and snow triggered landslides along the 300-km-long road, the only surface link of Kashmir with rest of the world. It was thrown open for one-way traffic on Tuesday after seven days of its continued closure.
During the closure period, more than 3,000 vehicles, mostly carrying essentials, were left stranded along the road, leading to an acute shortage of commodities in Kashmir.
Meanwhile, most parts of Kashmir experienced fresh snowfall and rains during the past 24 hours, a local meteorological department official said.
Srinagar recorded 1.0mm rain and snow, Qazigund 1.5mm, Pahalgam 5.1mm, Kupwara 8.7mm, Kokernag 1.0mm, and Gulmarg 2.0, he said.
The Met department has predicted more rains and snow in the next 24 hours.
"Light to moderate rain and snow is expected at widespread places over Kashmir, fairly widespread at places over Jammu and scattered at places over Ladakh region," the department said in its weather bulletin Wednesday.
The cloud cover over the Valley, the department said, has led to an increase in the night temperatures, providing slight relief to the people from the intense cold conditions.
Srinagar recorded a minimum temperature of minus 0.1 degree Celsius last night, against minus 1.0 degree Celsius the previous night.
The minimum temperature also increased in Qazigund which recorded a low of 0.8 degree Celsius, Kokernag recorded minus 0.3 degree Celsius, Kupwara 0.2 degree Celsius, Pahalgam minus 0.3 degree Celsius and Gulmarg minus 3.0 degrees Celsius.
Meanwhile, two snow avalanches struck Ramban district on Wednesday, leaving one person dead, officials said.
Salam-ud-Din died after a snow avalanche hit him near his house in Randgali, falling inn Halla Dhandrath panchayat of the district, an official said.
He died on the spot, said station house officer, Ramban, Vijay Kotwal.
Another avalanche hit the house of Jamal Din Sheikh in Mangit village in Khari tehsil of the district.
An official said the house was damaged in the avalanche but luckily there was no one inside at the time of the incident.
'SITUATION UNDER CONTROL'
The divisional commissioner Kashmir Baseer Ahmad Khan Wednesday said that following strict directions of governor Satya Pal Malik, advisors and chief secretary BVR Subrahmanyam, the divisional administration worked round-the-clock to review the situation following heavy snowfall and rains daily.
"The situation is now is completely under control and has stabilised vis-à-vis essential commodities and other important services which were temporarily disturbed due to the recent snowfall and blockade of the highway," Khan said in a statement.
Briefing media today, Khan said 3000 trucks, 504 oil tankers, 3400 light motor vehicles reached Kashmir and there is no dearth of essential commodities in the Valley.
"On Thursday, more stranded vehicles will reach the valley," he said.
He said the divisional administration has also abolished an earlier order directing petrol pumps to go for rationing of fuel.
"With more trucks coming tomorrow, there is no question of scarcity of any essential commodity. People don't need to worry with regards to essential commodities," he said.
Khan said that 1000 stranded passengers were brought from Jammu via special flights to "ease the rush". Similarly, he said, for the first time GATE students were airlifted free of cost to Jammu.
(With Muhammad Taskeen in Ramban)