Srinagar, Mar 17: Hundreds of vehicles, including those carrying essentials and passengers, left Jammu for Kashmir valley on Sunday morning as only one-way traffic continued on the Srinagar-Jammu National Highway due to bad road condition.
Snow clearance operation has been started on historic 86-km-long Mughal road, connecting Shopian in south Kashmir with Rajouri and Poonch in Jammu region, which remained closed since December 2018. A similar operation was also going on from both sides of the Zojila pass to put through Srinagar-Leh National Highway which remained closed since December last year due to accumulation of snow.
“We have allowed traffic today from Jammu to Srinagar on the highway, the only road linking Kashmir valley with the rest of the country,” a traffic police official said.
He said both Light Motor Vehicles (LMVs) and Heavy Motor Vehicles (HMVs) would be allowed on the highway with some restrictions. “LMVs will have to pass Nagrota in Jammu between 5am to 11am and Jakheni in Udhampur 6am to 12 noon,” he said, adding after the cut of time, no vehicle will be allowed to pass these checkpoints.
He said after 12 noon, HMVs will be allowed to ply on the highway. “No vehicle, including security force convoy, would be allowed from opposite direction to avoid traffic jam and accidents,” he added.
However, commuters alleged immense hardships due to very bad road conditions and heavy traffic jam. “I left Jammu at around 0400 hrs, but there was still very heavy traffic jam on the highway. The road condition of the highway is very bad…. it doesn’t feel like traveling on a national highway, but rather like an interior village road which is full of potholes and dust,” Shahnawaz, a commuter coming from Jammu to Srinagar, told UNI over the phone.
Frequent landslides and shooting stone have become a routine on the highway, forcing authorities to suspend traffic as a precautionary measure keeping in view the safety of passengers, official sources said.
They said the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) and Border Roads Organisation (BRO), responsible for widening and maintenance of the road, are working almost round the clock to clear the landslides and shooting stones.
However, frequent suspension of traffic on the highway has badly hit the people of Kashmir valley, including fruit traders, who find it difficult to transport their apples to different parts of the country. People are facing acute shortage of essentials, including vegetables, meat and chicken as valley entirely dependent on imports from different northern states.
An official said that on the direction of the District Administration Shopian, snow clearance operation was started on Mughal Road from Saturday. “The work to clear snow from the road would take around 20 days depending on the amount of snowfall in higher reaches and landslides which usually hinder the operations,” he said.UNI