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Jammu & Kashmir

Kashmir highway remains closed for 3rd day, Mughal, Leh road shut

Srinagar, Feb 2 : The Kashmir valley remained cut off from the rest of the country for the third consecutive day on Saturday following closure of 300-km-long Srinagar-Jammu due to landslides and shooting stones, triggered by rain and snow.

Meanwhile, the national highway, the only road linking Ladakh region with Kashmir and historic 86-km-long Mughal road remained shut since December last year due to accumulation of snow and slippery road conditions.

Traffic on the national highway, the only all weather road connecting Kashmir valley with the rest of the country, was suspended again on Thursday morning due to fresh snowfall on both sides of the Jawahar tunnel, Shaitan Nallah and Banihal and rain in Ramban area.

There were landslides and shooting stones at more than 7 places between Banihal and Ramban due to fresh snowfall and rain since Thursday, Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) traffic national highway Naveen Choudhary said this morning.

The situation on the highway is uncertain as nobody known when there will be landslides or shooting stone, he said adding the concerned authorities National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) and Border Roads Organisation (BRO) are doing round the clock operation to put through the road.

Landslides and shooting stones were removed at least five places, he said adding work to clear the road from stones and earth was going on at Batery Cheshma and Penthal. But, Mr Choudhary said when the road is cleared suddenly more landslides occurred. We cannot take risk and allow traffic due to almost continuous shooting stones.

The SSP said we are allowing vehicles to move immediately after getting information about road clearance. However, fresh landslides and shooting stones again force us to shut the highway, he said adding nobody can help it. However, he said, only stranded vehicles will be allowed to move towards their respective destinations before allowing fresh traffic from Jammu or Srinagar.

There is no passenger vehicle stranded on this side of the Jawahar tunnel, official sources told UNI from Qazigund.However, they said large number of Jammu bound trucks, mostly carrying fruit, are stranded at Qazigund and other places.The truckers alleged that they are not being allowed to move towards Jammu for the past about a week. There is no arrangement of water and food and fruit and other products loaded in the trucks are getting damaged, the drivers and conductor said.

The truckers held a demonstration on Friday against the continuous closure of the highway at Qazigund, gateway of Kashmir. However, they suspended their agitation after SP traffic highway assured them that they will be allowed to move once the landslides and shooting stones are cleared.

However, SP informed them that due to below freezing temperature, the road has become very slippery. The truckers appreciated the local residents who are arranging free langar for them (truckers).

Several thousand Kashmir bound passengers, including women and children, are stranded at Jammu bus stand and Udhampur for the past four days.UNI