Srinagar, Jul 31: The Srinagar-Jammu National Highway, the only all weather road connecting Kashmir valley with the rest of the country, was closed on Wednesday due to landslides, triggered by rain at several places, a traffic police official said.Pilgrimage from Bhagwati Nagar, Jammu, to Baltal and Pahalgam base camps was also suspended due to closure of the highway. Several thousand vehicles, including those carrying passengers, are stranded at different places on the highway since last evening.
Traffic police official told UNI that rain triggered landslides at several places between Ramban and Ramsu, particularly at Penthal and Digdol last night forcing authorities to suspend vehicular traffic movement.He said Border Roads Organisation (BRO) and National Highway Authority of India (NHAI), responsible for maintenance of the highway, immediately put into service sophisticated machine and men to clear the landslides. However, due to continued shooting stones and landslides, road clearance operation was being hampered, he said.
The sky was cloudy and intermittent rain also continued, he said, adding that traffic will be resumed only after shooting stones and landslides will stop and a green signal is received from BRO and traffic police officials posted at different places. No yatri was allowed from Jammu for base camps in Kashmir this morning. Similarly, pilgrims, who were scheduled to travel to Jammu after having darshan, were also stopped. Majority of pilgrims have been stopped at Pantha Chowk transit camp.
Due to closure of the highway, several thousand vehicles, including those carrying passengers and trucks loaded with essentials are stranded on the highway. Heavy Motor Vehicles (HMVs) are allowed to ply only one side while Light Motor Vehicles (LMVs) from both sides. Civilian traffic is allowed to ply only in the afternoon after clearance of Amarnath yatra and security force convoy. The historic 86-km-long Mughal road, connecting Shopian in south Kashmir with Rajouri and Poonch in Jammu region was through for traffic. The 434-km-long Srinagar- Leh National Highway was also through for both way traffic.UNI