Srinagar, Feb 27 : The Srinagar-Jammu National Highway, the only all weather road connecting Kashmir valley with the rest of the country, remained closed for the third day on Wednesday due to fresh snowfall, landslides and shooting stones, triggered by rain.
The frequent closure of the highway has resulted in acute shortage of essentials, particularly petrol and diesel while the prices of vegetables has witnessed major rise, forcing people to take dry and local vegetables.
Meanwhile, there was no change in the road condition of Srinagar-Leh and historic Mughal roads which remained closed since December last year due to accumulation of snow besides threat of avalanches.
There was fresh snowfall on both sides of the Jawahar tunnel, Banihal and Shaitan Nallah during the past 24 hours, official said. They said, rain also triggered landslides and shooting stones between Ramban and Ramsu.
Meanwhile, hundreds of vehicles, including those carrying passengers, remained stranded on the highway due to the landslides. They said, similarly over 400 oil tanks and trucks carrying essentials for Kashmir also remained stranded at different places on the highway, resulting in shortage of essentials, particularly petrol, diesel and vegetables.
Deputy Commissioner Ramban said a portion of road was washed away near JK Bank Ramban.
He said restoration work has already been started to make the road traffic worthy again and clear the stranded vehicles. 'We are trying to restore the road with concreting and GSB laying'.
However, he further said that concrete needs eight to ten hours for consolidation. After setting of concrete, vehicles can be allowed to ply.
Meanwhile, the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) and Beacon, responsible for the maintenance of the highway, have already started road clearance operation to put through the road.
However, at some places the landslide clearance operation could not be taken up due to continued shooting stones. According to the sources, once the road is put through only stranded vehicles will be allowed to move towards their respective destinations before allowing any fresh traffic.
The highway has become unpredictable as shooting stones and landslides could occur anytime, they added. UNI