Highway linking Kashmir with rest country remains shut - watsupptoday.com
Highway linking Kashmir with rest country remains shut
Posted 29 Jan 2017 03:15 PM

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SRINAGAR : The 300-km-long Srinagar-Jammu national highway, linking the Kashmir valley with the rest of the country remained closed for the 6th day today due to heavy snowfall and massive landslides.
Meanwhile, hundreds of vehicles, including trucks, remained stranded on the highway resulting in shortage of essential commodities, particularly fresh vegetables and fruits besides meat and chicken.
Closure of the highway and frequent disruption in air traffic coupled with major increase in the airfare has badly affected tourist arrival which had started picking up since January 6 following heavy snowfall after about six month long dry spell and Kashmir unrest.
Though the weather was dry during the past about 24 hours, but intermittent landslides and snow avalanches continued on the highway at different places.
A traffic police official said that traffic remained suspended on the highway due to landslides and snow avalanches particularly at Sher Bibi, Digdol, Ramban and Ramsu.
A bridge was also affected due to landslides on the highway, he said. However, the Border Roads Organisation (BRO), responsible for the maintainance of the highway had put into service sophisticated machines and men to clear the snow and landslide.
There was huge snow on the road at Shaitan Nallah, a BRO official said, adding snow clearance operation was going on war footing.
“We have been able to put through one-way traffic between from Qazigund upto Banihal after clearing the snow,” he said, adding efforts are being made to make it two-way.
He said some light vehicles stranded on the highway were allowed to move towards their respective destination last evening before there were fresh landslides at several places, including Penthal. More than 100 light vehicles crossed over to this side after one way traffic was resumed from Banihal to Qazigund.
However, a traffic police official said that traffic on the highway will be resumed only once a green signal is received from BRO and Traffic police officials posted at different places.
However, only stranded vehicles will be allowed before allowing fresh traffic on the highway.
Our preference will be to clear trucks loaded with essentials for the Kashmir valley before allowing fresh traffic.
Meanwhile, hundreds of vehicles, particularly empty trucks, loaded with fruit and empty oil tanker, are stranded on this side of the Jawahar tunnel on highway at different places.
Similarly, about 500 Kashmir bound vehicles, including trucks loaded with essentials, are stranded on other side of the tunnel.
Truckers from different parts of the country, particularly northern state alleged that they are stranded for the past more than a week on the highway.
Despite tall claims, there was absolutely no facility for stranded passengers and truckers, they alleged and said even there was no water where they are stranded.
Traffic on the highway, the only road linking the valley with the rest of the country, was disrupted frequently due to snowfall and landslides besides slippery road conditions since first heavy snowfall on January 6.
The historic Mughal road, connecting Shopian in south Kashmir with Rajouri and Poonch in Jammu region and national highway, linking the Ladakh region with Kashmir remained closed due to heavy snowfall. Both the roads will reopen only in summer. The Mughal road is seen as alternative to the Srinagar-Jammu national highway.
However, the closure of the highway has resulted in considerable increase in the prices of essentials, including vegetables and fruits. Kashmir valley is importing vegetables, fruits and chicken and meat from different parts of the country.
Majority meat and chicken shops remained closed in the valley because of no supply from outside due to closure of the highway.
Traders at vegetable mandi in Srinagar said only potatoes and onions are available in the mandi. ”We were receiving hundreds of trucks loaded with fresh vegetables every day but for the past about one week there is hardly any,” he said, adding the local vegetables are also under snow forcing people to consume pulses and dry vegetables.

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