Srinagar: The 300-km-long Srinagar-Jammu national highway, the only all weather road connecting Kashmir valley with the rest of the country, was closed again on Wednesday due to fresh landslides, triggered by rain and snowfall since early this morning.
The Ladakh region remained cut off from Kashmir since December last year as the Srinagar-Leh national highway remained closed due to accumulation of snow while historic 86-km-long historic Mughal road and Anantnag-Kishtwar roads remained shut due to accumulation of several feet of snow and slippery road conditions.
The Kashmir highway was closed yet again due to fresh landslides and shooting stones , triggered by rain between Ramban and Ramsu and snowfall on both sides of the Jawahat tunnel, Banihal, Shaitan Nallah and Qazigund, a traffic police official told UNI this morning.
Meanwhile, he said, it was decided to allow Light Motor Vehicles (LMVs) and Heavy Motor Vehicles (HMVs) from Srinagar to Jammu for the second consecutive on Wednesday. Almost all Jammu bound vehicles which left different parts of the Kashmir valley have reached to their destinations till last night. The authorities had decided not to allow any vehicle from Jammu today also, he added.
He said it was raining and snowing on the highway due to which road has become slippery forcing authorities to suspend traffic movement this morning.
All the Jammy bound LMVs and HMVs were stopped at Qazigund and other places on this side of the tunnel. Passenger vehicles who left different parts of the valley, including Srinagar, have been stopped at Qazigund, he said adding some of them have returned to their homes landslides and shooting stones continued.
He said the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) and Border Roads Organisation (BRO) have put into service sophisticated machines to clear the snow and landslides. However, the operation was being hampered due to continued rain and snow.
There is a forecast for heavy to very heavy snow and rain during the next 48 hours which could affect traffic movement on the highway again, official sources said. The road has become very unpredictable as nobody known when landslides and shooting stones would occur. But, they said, the NHAI and BRO are working immediately to clear the road and put through the highway.
Frequent closure of the national highway result in steep rise in airfare besides shortage of essentials, particularly vegetables and meat, in the Kashmir valley, totally dependent on imports from different states, particularly Delhi, Punjab and Rajasthan.