Srinagar, May 11: About 8,000 vehicles were stranded at different places on Srinagar-Jammu national highway which remained closed for the third day on Saturday due to landslides and continued shooting stones, official sources said.
"The national highway, the only all weather road linking Kashmir valley with the rest of the country remained closed for the third day today", sources said.
National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) and Border Roads Organisation (BRO), responsible for the maintenance of the highway cleared the landslides, allowing the stranded vehicles to move towards Kashmir valley on Friday evening. "But the traffic was again suspended after fresh landslides at Digdol", the source said adding that a driver who was operating a machine to clear the landslides was injured after hit by a stone.
Shooting stones continued on Saturday at Digdol and other places in Ramban area badly hampering landslide clearance operation. The MeT department has also forecast rain during the next four days in the surrounding areas, which could trigger more landslides and shooting stones. There were about 3,000 vehicles stranded on the highway till Friday morning, which has now shot up to 8,000.
Those who were left stranded alleged that the administration is missing as there is no arrangement for them.
Meanwhile, prices of essentials, particularly fresh vegetable and fruit besides chicken and meat, has witnessed sharp increase during the past few weeks due to frequent closure of the highway due to landslides and ban imposed by the authorities on movement of civilian traffic twice a week i e on Sunday and Wednesday to allow free movement of security force convoy. Though the authorities have now lifted the ban on Wednesday from next week, the Sunday closure of the only highway here will be continued.
This ban was imposed on civilian traffic after 44 CRPF personnel were killed in a fidayeen attack in February and similar unsuccessful attempt was made by militants near Jawahar tunnel. The fruit growers association Sopore, in north Kashmir alleged that they have suffered a loss of over Rs 500 crores due to frequent closure of the highway for one or another reason. A truck carrying apple from here took 10 to 15 days to reach Delhi and other mandis against the usual four to five days.
"We were assured that 86-km-long historic Mughal road, connecting Shopian in south Kashmir with Rajouri and Poonch in Jammu region would be made available for few days exclusively for fruit trucks which proved a hoax", alleged Mohammad Yousuf one the officer bearer of Sopore Mandi.