Srinagar-Jammu NH blocked; to remain closed today

-Slides, shooting stones continue to rain -Temporary steel bridge at Panthyal damaged -Amarnath pilgrims accommodated at Chanderkote Yatri Niwas
Boulders and debris which hit the road also extensively damaged the temporary steel tunnel at Panthyal resulting in complete blockage of the road.
Boulders and debris which hit the road also extensively damaged the temporary steel tunnel at Panthyal resulting in complete blockage of the road.Screengrab

Ramban: Srinagar Jammu National Highway remained blocked due to landslides and continuous raining of shooting stones, triggered by heavy downpour, at Mehar and Panthyal in Ramban district on Thursday.

Boulders and debris which hit the road also extensively damaged the temporary steel tunnel at Panthyal resulting in complete blockage of the road.

Meanwhile, the Jammu and Kashmir traffic police department stated that no vehicular movement would be allowed from either side on Jammu Srinagar National Highway on Friday because of road blockade at Mahad, Ramban due to mudslide and intermittent shooting stones.

Officials said, “Rain that lashed Nashri-Banihal stretch this morning wreaked havoc and blocked the vital Srinagar National Highway in Ramban district. The highway was blocked due to massive mud and landslides between Mehar and Cafeteria Morh stretch in Ramban. Boulders, shooting stones blocked the stretch at Panthyal at around 4.30 am.”

The only surface link to Kashmir with the rest of the country was partially thrown open for vehicular traffic on Wednesday afternoon, however, landslides and shooting stones at various places of the highway once again forced authorities to suspend traffic movement including Amarnath Yatra on the highway on Thursday morning.

Deputy Superintendent of Traffic Police Parul Bhradway said, “The road was blocked due to rain that lashed the area this morning, resulting in landslides at Mehar-Cafeteria Morh stretch and due to continuous shooting stones at Panthyal.”

Earlier, during the day the road was restored for a brief period at Panthyal after accumulated debris and stones were cleared by the concerned agency. Some stranded vehicles crossed but later in the afternoon, boulders and debris again hit the road at the same place due to which a temporary steel tunnel at Panthyal suffered extensive damages resulting in complete blockage of the road.

SSP Ramban, Mohita Sharma, while updating the status of NH-44 tweeted that the Panthyal steel tunnel got severely damaged because of continuous shooting stones. “Repair and road clearance work will follow soon. People are advised not to travel on NH-44,” she added.

Deputy Commissioner Ramban, Mussarat Islam also tweeted that NHAI was asked to rush team for damage assessment to Panthyal steel bridge on NH-44.

The companies engaged by NHAI deputed their men and machinery to the affected portions of the highway but could not restore the highway till the filing of this report.

They said frequent triggering of landslides and shooting stones at Mehar, Cafeteria Morh in Ramban was hampering road restoration work.

They said six machines were pressed into service to clear this stretch. Officials said the scheduled convoy of Amarnath pilgrims, who left Bhagwati Nagar Jammu Thursday morning for the two Yatra base camps i.e Pahalgam and Baltal in Kashmir was diverted and accommodated in SASB Yatri Niwas Chanderkote.

Meanwhile, a fresh landslide hit the road near Nashri tunnel and blocked the highway there too.

Authorities told Greater Kashmir that it would take at least a day to restore traffic on the highway.

Meanwhile, the Jammu and Kashmir traffic police department issued an advisory stating that because of road blockade at Mahad, Ramban due to mudslide and intermittent shooting stones no vehicular movement would be allowed from either side on Jammu Srinagar National Highway on Friday.

The further said the public would be informed through social media in case the road reopened.

He said road restoration work was going on at both the places.

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