Srinagar, Mar 4: The national highway, the only all-weather road connecting Kashmir valley with the rest of the country, reopened partially and only Kashmir-bound stranded vehicles were allowed to ply on Monday, official sources said.
Meanwhile, 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.
Over 4000 Kashmir-bound vehicles, including those carrying passengers, got stranded on Saturday after traffic was suspended on Srinagar-Jammu national highway due to fresh snowfall on both sides of Jawahar tunnel, Shaitan Nallah and Banihal besides landslides and shooting stones, triggered by rain, between Ramban and Ramsu. However, traffic was resumed in the Sunday afternoon for some time before the highway was closed again on Saturday evening.
The National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) and Border Roads Organisation (BRO), responsible for the maintenance of the highway, are working round the clock to clear the landslides and shooting stones on the highway, particularly between Ramban and Ramsu. There were fresh landslides and shooting stones at three different places, including Penthyal, Digdol and Mom Passi this morning. The highway was put through partially this morning and stranded vehicles at Ramban and Penthyal were allowed to move towards Kashmir valley. "No fresh vehicle was allowed to leave from Jammu," they told UNI.
They said decision to allow fresh traffic will be taken only after all stranded vehicles are cleared on the highway, which is closed frequently due to intermittent landslides and shooting stones.
Meanwhile, the gas agencies have suspended home delivery in the summer capital, where long queues could be seen outside gas dealers sale point since early morning despite chilly weather condition. The valley is facing acute shortage of LPG, petrol, diesel and fresh vegetables due to frequent closure of the highway. The prices of essentials has witnessed sharp increase during the past one month as valley depends only on imports from different states of the country.