Landslides, snowfall force closure of Highway

KT NEWS SERVICE. Dated: 11/8/2019 12:08:14 PM

# Heavy rains lash Jammu plains # Mughal Road too remains out of bound

JAMMU, Nov 7: Jammu-Srinagar national highway, the only road linking the Kashmir valley with the rest of the country, was closed on Thursday due to landslides triggered by heavy snowfall, first of the season, since early Thursday morning while the plains of Jammu witnessed rains.
Upper reaches of Jammu region too witnessed snowfall, for the second consecutive day.
The strategic Jammu-Srinagar National Highway remained closed for a second consecutive day due to the fresh snowfall in Bannihal sector and landslides in Ramsoo-Ramban. The one-way traffic from Srinagar to Jammu which was allowed on Wednesday, too was halted today.
Meanwhile, hundreds of vehicles, carrying essentials for Kashmir valley, were stopped at Jammu, Udhampur and other places on the highway. A large number of passengers were also stranded at different places in Jammu region. Trucks, carrying fruits for different mandis of the country, including Jammu and Delhi, were also stranded on this side of the tunnel.
Meanwhile, the 434-km-long Srinagar-Leh national highway and historic 86-km-long Mughal road too remained closed for the second day due to heavy snowfall. The Meteorological department has already predicted heavy snowfall in the Union Territories (UTs) of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh from November 6 to November 8.
It was heavily snowing on this side of the Jawahar tunnel on Jammu-Srinagar National highway since early this morning, a traffic police official said.
He said about a feet of snow had accumulated at tunnel, Shaitan Nallah and Banihal due to which the road has become very slippery, forcing authorities to suspend traffic movement as a precautionary measure. Several inches of snow had also accumulated at Qazigund, gateway of Kashmir on the highway in south Kashmir, he said adding it was still snowing.
The Border Roads Organisation (BRO) jad pressed into service sophisticated machines to clear the snow and restore traffic movement, he said adding but continued snowfall hampered the operation.
He said it was heavily raining at Ramban, Panthial and other places on other side of the tunnel.
The official said traffic would be allowed only after receiving green signal from the BRO and traffic police officials posted at different places on the highway.
The historic Mughal road, connecting Shopian in south Kashmir with Rajouri and Poonch, also remained closed for the second day today due to snowfall. Over one to two feet of snow had accumulated on the road, including at Herpora Shopian and Pir-Ki-Gali. A large number of vehicles are stranded on the road, which is seen as alternative to Srinagar-Jammu national highway. The centre has already approved a tunnel to make it all weather road, which remained closed for six winter months due to heavy snowfall.
Meanwhile, the national highway, linking UT Ladakh with the Kashmir valley, also remained closed for the second day today due to snowfall and slippery road condition. About one to two feet of snowfall was recorded on the highway at Sonamarg and Zojila pass besides snowfall was received at Meenmarg.
Hundreds of trucks besides passenger vehicle are stranded on both sides of the Zojila pass due to slippery road conditions following snowfall.
The BRO has pressed into service snow clearance machines to put through the highway, which also remained closed for winter months. However, due to avalanche threat and continued snowfall, snow clearance operation gets hampered, he said.
In the meanwhile, the Chief Secretary following heavy and continuous snowfall in Kashmir valley and parts of Jammu division this evening held an extensive video conference with the divisional and district administration of Kashmir and Jammu division and impressed upon them to work 24x7 to ensure that power supply is restored and roads are cleared of snow by Friday evening.
Preparedness with regard to snow/ landslide clearance, traffic management, rescue plan and facilities for stranded passengers/truckers along the Srinagar-Jammu National Highway and other important roads was also discussed in the meeting.
Divisional Commissioner, Jammu apprised about the position of National Highway in the wake of incessant rainfall and the position of major roads across other districts.



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