The Srinagar-Jammu highway—the only surface link of Kashmir with rest of the world—was again closed for traffic on Monday following landslides in Ramban area falling along the thoroughfare, even as the local meteorological department predicted further improvement in weather from Tuesday.
"The Srinagar-Jammu highway is closed but we are undertaking the clearance operation on war-footing," superintendent of police (traffic-rural) Muzaffer Ahmad Shah told Greater Kashmir.
He said traffic will hopefully be restored on Tuesday morning in case of fair weather. "The intending highway travelers should contact traffic control units before leaving for their destination," Shah said.
The highway was restored on Sunday for one-side traffic, day after it was blocked following heavy snowfall in Kashmir and Jammu areas. However, after fresh landslides in Battery Cheshma area, it was again closed.
Traffic was restored from Jammu to Srinagar last evening and was scheduled to move from Srinagar to Jammu Monday. Shah said 5000 fruit-laden trucks which were stranded at Lavdora have been cleared.
"These vehicles were cleared but a fresh fleet of about 300 vehicles is now stranded at the same place. Once the road re-opens, the stranded vehicles will be given preference to move," he said.
Due to snowfall, dozens of far-flung and remote villages near the Line of Control in Kupwara district—as well as Bandipora district—remained cut off from their district headquarters for the fourth day Monday due to accumulation of several feet of snow, and slippery road conditions.
According to reports, lot of snow has accumulated at Sadhna and Razdan passes besides Z-Gali and Phirkiyan after fresh snowfall—mostly light to moderate—was recorded there Saturday night.
On the other hand, the district Shopian evacuated 41 civilians from Mughal Road—connecting Kashmir with Poonch via Shopian—who were stranded due to inclement weather. "They were provided food and shelter in Shopian by the district administration," an official said.
Meanwhile, local meteorological department officials said there will be further improvement in weather from Tuesday. Cold wave tightened its grip over Kashmir, with the night temperature in Srinagar dipping slightly to settle at the season's lowest, so far, at minus 1.8 degrees Celsius.
Srinagar (maximum 7.1 degrees Celsius/minimum 1.8 degrees Celsius); Qazigund (maximum 6.8 degrees Celsius/minimum 0.8 degrees Celsius); Pahalgam (maximum 2.8 degrees Celsius/minimum 0.3 degrees Celsius); Kupwara (maximum 7.4 degrees Celsius/minimum -0.9 degrees Celsius); Kokernag (maximum 4.2 degrees Celsius/minimum 0.1 degrees Celsius); Gulmarg (maximum 0.2 degrees Celsius/minimum -5.0 degrees Celsius); Leh (maximum 4.5 degrees Celsius/minimum 5.5 degrees Celsius) and Kargil (maximum 15.0 degrees Celsius/minimum 4.0 degrees Celsius).
SRINAGAR-KARGIL HIGHWAY CLOSED
The Srinagar-Kargil highway remained closed for fifth consecutive day Monday due to heavy snowfall at many places along the thoroughfare.
At least 11-foot snow has accumulated in Zojila area, according to officials, even as several vehicles stranded on the highway were cleared slowly.
Meanwhile, officials said two truck drivers stranded near Zojila for the past four days were evacuated Monday in a rescue operation launched by the local administration.
Talking to Greater Kashmir, deputy commissioner GanderbalPiyushSingla said a special joint rescue operation was launched by the J&K police, army's HAWS unit camped at Sonamarg, Air Force and Beacon, in coordination with the civil administration, to evacuate the two truck drivers.
Station house officer, Sonamarg, Manzoor Ahmed said both the drivers were given medical aid and are "safe."