Srinagar, Nov 24: The national highway, the only road connecting Union Territory (UT) of Ladakh with Kashmir valley, remained closed for the fourth day on Sunday due to heavy snowfall and avalanches.
Meanwhile, the majority of the truckers and passengers who got stranded at different places on Zojila pass were rescued and taken to safer places. The Srinagar-Leh national highway is still closed though the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) has already started snow clearance operation, officials said. However, frequent avalanches at several places and fresh snowfall during the past 24 hours, was hampering snow clearance operation. The snow gets frozen during the night when the minimum temperature drops to below freezing point with the result the road becomes slippery, they said.
It will take more than 48 hours to put through the highway, they said, adding traffic will be allowed only when the weather improves and accumulated snow is cleared. Officials said about large number of trucks got struck at different places on Zojila pass, the most avalanche prone area on the highway. The highway, the only road connecting Ladakh with Kashmir, used to remain closed in the past for six months during winter due to below freezing temperature and accumulation of snow since November 1 every year. However, for the past few years due to the efforts of the local administration and BRO, highway now remains open in the month of December also till there is heavy snowfall.
Earlier, the Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir, was taking decision to close the highway for winter months. However, since Ladakh has now become an independent Union Territory (UT), the decision to close or reopen the highway will have to be taken by administration in UT Ladakh and Kashmir. (UNI)