December 21, 2020

Traffic resumes on Kashmir highway, Leh and Mughal road still shut

Srinagar: Traffic was on Sunday resumed after remaining suspended due to landslides on Saturday evening on the Srinagar-Jammu national highway, the only all weather road connecting Kashmir valley with the rest of the country.

Meanwhile, large number of vehicles remained stranded on both sides of the Zojila pass following closure of the national highway, the only road linking Union Territory (UT) of Ladakh with Kashmir, due to accumulation of snow and slippery road conditions.

The historic 86-km-long Mughal road also remained closed due to accumulation of snow which has now frozen resulting in slippery conditions, a traffic police official told UNI today.

He said thousands of vehicles got stranded following landslides at Chanderkote on Srinagar-Jammu national highway on Saturday evening. However, the National Authority of India (NHAI) put into service men and machine to clear the landslides which also damaged several trucks.

He said after working throughout the night, the landslide clearance operation was completed this morning and one-way traffic was resumed at Chanderkote on the highway. Stranded vehicles, mostly Heavy Motor Vehicles (HMVs) are being cleared in the area, he said adding fresh vehicles will be allowed only after receiving green signal from the NHAI and traffic police officials posted there.

He said as per original schedule Light Motor Vehicles (LMVs) were to ply from Jammu to Srinagar on Sunday. However, Jammu bound HMVs stranded between Levdoora to Banihal will also be allowed to move, he said adding security forces are also advised to ply from Srinagar to Jammu.

Meanwhile, hundreds of vehicles remained stranded on the Srinagar-Leh national highway on both sides of the Zojila pass, where men from Beacon are working to remove the frozen snow, official sources said.

Due to below minus 15 degree minimum temperature and sub zero maximum temperature, snow at Zojia pass had frozen, sources told UNI adding continued strong icy winds also hamper snow clearance operation. Large number of vehicles from different parts of the Ladakh region are stranded at Sonamarg and other areas in the central Kashmir district of Ganderbal. Similarly, Kashmir bound vehicles have been stopped at different places on other side of the Zojila in Kargil district. Hectic efforts are going on to clear the snow by using sophisticated machines, salt and urea so that stranded vehicles are allowed to move towards their respective destinations before the highway is declared closed for winter months.

The Mughal road, connecting Shopian in south Kashmir with Rajouri and Poonch in Jammu region also remained closed due to accumulation of snow, sources said adding there is very little chance of reopening of the road which is seen as alternative to Srinagar-Jammu highway.  The road which was this summer used for transportation of fresh fruit from Kashmir to other parts of the country, remained closed during winter months due to heavy snowfall.

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