Highway closure: Shooting stones, landslides hamper clearance work

Fresh landslides and shooting stones hampered the snow and debris clearance operation on the Srinagar-Jammu highway that remained closed for traffic for the fourth day on Saturday.
Highway closure: Shooting stones, landslides hamper clearance work
Photo: Mohammad Taskeen/ GK

Fresh landslides and shooting stones hampered the snow and debris clearance operation on the Srinagar-Jammu highway that remained closed for traffic for the fourth day on Saturday.

Over 3000 vehicles, mostly trucks, are stranded along the highway, which is the only all-weather road connecting the Kashmir with the rest of the world and whose closure has sent flight prices soaring.

The traffic on the road was suspended on Wednesday morning after widespread rains and snowfall triggered landslides. 

So far, the highway has intermittently remained closed for a total of more than three weeks in 2019, leading to a shortage of essentials, including vegetables, meat, chicken besides petrol and diesel in Kashmir.

Tens of hundreds of Kashmiri passengers are also stranded in Jammu due to a closure of the highway.

Inspector general of police (traffic) Alok Kumar said major landslides struck the highway at Peeda, Sherbibi, Digdole, Maroog, Anokhifall, Pantiyal, Nashri, KhuniNallah and Gangroo over the past couple of days due to incessant rains.

"There have been fresh landslides and shooting stones on the road today," he said.

Besides, Kumar said, a 6-km-long stretch was icy and no vehicle could cross even Patni Top, where as many as 400 tankers are stranded.

The IGP said the authorities will decide on traffic movement only after it is cleared off snow and debris and its condition is assessed.

He said the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) and Border Roads Organisation (BRO), responsible for the maintenance of the highway, are working round the clock to make it traffic worthy. However, he said, frequent landslides and shooting stones are occurring at several places along the highway between Ramban and Ramsu.

VALLEY AGAIN IN GRIP OF COLD WAVE

Cold wave conditions returned to Kashmir as minimum temperatures on Friday night plunged several degrees below the freezing point, leading to icy roads that disrupted traffic.

MeT officials said Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir, recorded a low of minus 5.7 degrees Celsius on Friday night, registering a drop of nearly five degrees compared to the previous night.

They said Gulmarg ski-resort in north Kashmir was the coldest place in the Valley at minus 14.4 degrees Celsius, while Pahalgam recorded a low of minus 12.7 degrees Celsius.

MeT officials said the sudden dip in the night temperature was due to clear skies overnight.

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