Traffic again suspended on Kashmir highway due to fresh landslides

Srinagar, Mar 18: The 270-km-long Srinagar-Jammu National Highway, the only all weather road connecting Kashmir valley with the rest of the country, was closed yet again on Wednesday due to fresh landslides and shooting stones.
Snow clearance operation has been completed on record time while repair work has been undertaken on the Srinagar-Leh national highway, which remained closed for the past about three months due to accumulation of about ten to 12 feet of snow and avalanche threat.
The historic 86-km-long Mughal and Anantnag-Kishtwar roads remained closed due to accumulation of snow for the past about three months.
‘Traffic on the highway was suspended again this morning due to fresh landslides at several places in Ramban, including Kharpura,’ a traffic police official said this morning.
Hundreds of vehicles, including the ones carrying passengers, were stranded at various places on the highway due to the closure of the highway.
However, he said the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) has already pressed into service sophisticated machines and men to clear the landslides, adding continued shooting stones were hampering the operation. ‘Traffic will be resumed only after receiving a green signal from NHAI and traffic police officials posted at different places on the highway,’ he said.
He said only one-way traffic will continue to ply on the highway till further orders on the highway as the road is very narrow and damaged at several places between Ramban and Ramsu where only one vehicle could pass easily.
Frequent closure of the highway since its expansion has been a major cause of concern for the people living in Kashmir valley, where suspension of traffic results in increase in the rates of essential commodities by any folds.
Official sources said that snow clearance operation has been completed on 434-km-long Srinagar-Leh national highway from Sonamarg in central Kashmir district of Ganderbal to zero point on the Zojila top.
They said the Beacon will now carry out repair and maintenance work on the road to make it motorable. ‘Once the repair work is done, the road will be thrown open for traffic likely at the end of this month,’ they added.
The historic Mughal road, linking Shopian in south Kashmir with Rajouri and Poonch in Jammu region, remained closed due to accumulation of huge snow on the highway, particularly Pir-ki-Gali. There are also threat of avalanches on the road, which is seen as alternative to Srinagar-Jammu highway. The Anantnag to Kishtwar road also remained closed due to snow accumulation.

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