Jammu: The Jammu-Srinagar National Highway was reopened for traffic on Monday evening, hours after a massive landslide blocked the all-weather road in Ramban district, a senior police officer said.
The landslide struck the 270-km highway around 7.30 am near Battery Chashma along with the Banihal-Ramban stretch, blocking the road which connects Kashmir to the rest of the country.
“After an over 11-hour-long clearance operation, the road was opened for traffic and the stranded vehicles from both sides were allowed to move towards their destinations,” Ramban Senior Superintendent of Police Anita Sharma said.
She said a truck transporting apples is feared to have got caught in the landslide and rolled down into a 600-feet gorge near the site. The fate of its occupants is not known yet, she said.
“The rescuers including SDRF and civilian volunteers reached the mangled truck at the bottom of the gorge but failed to locate anybody. The rescue operation is on,” Sharma said.
The highway was opened for one-way traffic on Sunday, a day after it was closed due to heavy snowfall along the Jawahar Tunnel-Qazigund stretch and landslides at multiple places between Ramban and Banihal sector.
Over 700 stranded passengers coming from Srinagar to Jammu were rescued in a night-long operation from the avalanche-prone area of Jawahar tunnel and Verinag on Saturday and brought safely to Banihal before they were allowed to move towards their destinations.
The traffic on the highway was allowed from Jammu to Srinagar on Monday morning, while restricted traffic was allowed from Srinagar to Jammu to enable government employees working in the Civil Secretariat and other ‘Darbar Move’ offices to join their duties in Jammu.
The Civil Secretariat reopened on Monday after a 10-day break as part of the bi-annual ‘Darbar Move’.
A large number of employees failed to reach Jammu due to inclement weather which forced cancellation of the majority of flights at the Srinagar airport besides disrupting traffic on the highway.