Srinagar, Mar 3 : Over 3,500 Kashmir-bound vehicles, including those carrying passengers, were stranded after the Srinagar-Jammu National Highway remained closed for the second day on Sunday following fresh snowfall and landslides, triggered by rain.
The Srinagar-Leh national highway, connecting Ladakh region with Kashmir and historic 86-km-long Mughal road between Shopian in south Kashmir and Rajouri and Poonch in Jammu region besides Anantnag-Kishtwar road remained closed since December last year due to snow. Despite snowfall on both sides of the Jawahar tunnel and rain between Ramban and Ramsu, traffic authorities allowed traffic from Jammu to Srinagar on Saturday. However, there were fresh landslides at several places, including Penthyal, between Ramban and Ramsu on the highway, the only all weather road linking the Kashmir valley with the rest of the country.
Sources said over 3,500 vehicles, including those carrying passengers, who had left Jammu early yesterday morning, got stranded on the highway. However, some of the passenger vehicles returned to Jammu. Locals at Chanderkote and other places are providing shelter and food free of cost to stranded vehicles in the absence of any arrangement by administration.
The National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) and Border Roads Organisation (BRO), responsible for the maintenance of the highway, have already pressed into service sophisticated machine and men to clear the landslides. However, continued shooting stones are hampering the road clearance operation. Sources said only stranded vehicles will be allowed after receiving green signal from personnel posted at different places on the highway.
Frequent closure of the highway has resulted in shortage of essential commodities, particularly fresh vegetables, meat and chicken besides petrol, diesel and LPG gas cylinders in the valley, which totally depend upon imports from other states.
The prices of local vegetables besides chicken have witnessed several fold increase in the valley, including summer capital, Srinagar. (UNI)