Two avalanches hit the Zojila pass on Srinagar-Leh highway on Sunday and Monday. Several vehicles were buried under the snow.
Those inside the five buried vehicles on Sunday were rescued but three drivers in two trucks were found in an injured condition. The authorities did well by suspending the vehicular traffic movement for April 18 and 19 to widen the road.
According to authorities, the road widening has become necessary in view of the frequent avalanches. More safety measures should be also taken to ensure the safety of those travelling or working on the road while the traffic movement will resume.
The Srinagar-Leh highway was thrown open last month in record 68 days. On Sunday the authorities issued avalanche warning for 24 hours for the higher reaches of four districts - Bandipora, Kupwara, Doda and Kishtwar.
The people there were advised to take necessary precaution and not to unnecessarily venture out. These warnings are being issued by the authorities from time to time for the safety of the people. Ignoring such warnings is like inviting trouble and endangering lives.
A number of people have been killed and several others injured in avalanches in past. Two Polish nationals were killed and 19 others were rescued after a group of tourists were hit by a massive avalanche at the ski resort of Gulmarg on February 1.
On January 13 two labourers were killed in an avalanche in Sonmarg areas. Efforts should be made at all concerned levels that the lives of the people in avalanche prone areas are not put to risk. Those living in these areas too must follow the guidelines being issued by authorities.
These guidelines are for their own safety. There are reports of some youngsters not taking the warnings seriously and going out and doing their activities.
This should not happen. They must be cautious after an avalanche warning is issued. Once the warning time is over, they can go out and resume their normal activities.
While the traffic movement on Srinagar-Leh highway has been suspended for two days for road widening, the authorities must see to it that the Mughal Road is thrown open when it is safe for travel.
The snow clearance work on the road is incomplete due to fresh snowfall. It was being expected that the road will reopen within these days.
There is a demand by the people in Poonch and Rajouri and Kashmir, who travel on the road for early reopening.
But safety of travellers is paramount. Once the authorities are sure that the road is safe for travel, only then it must reopen.