Inside Kashmir

Kashmir remains cut off from rest of the country

Srinagar: The Kashmir valley remained cut off from the rest of the country for the second consecutive day on Monday following closure of the 270-km-long Srinagar-Jammu national highway due to snowfall, landslides, shooting stone and mudslide at several places.

Meanwhile, the national highway, the only road connecting Union Territory (UT) of Ladakh with Kashmir valley, the historic 86-km-long Mughal road and Anantnag- Sampthan Kishtwar road have been closed for winter months due to snowfall and slipery road conditions.

Traffic on the Srinagar-Jammu national highway was suspended on Sunday due to fresh snowfall on both sides of the Jawahar tunnel, Shaitan Nallah and Banihal, a traffic police official told UNI today. About three feet of snow has accumulated in the Kashmir side of the tunnel while two feet of snow has accumulated in the Jammu side of the tunnel.

The official informed that there was fresh snowfall till late last night on both sides of the tunnel.

However, he said, rain triggered landslides, shooting stones and mudslides at several places on the highway, the only road linking Kashmir valley with the rest of the country.

However, the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) and Border Roads Organisation (BRO), responsible for maintenance of the road, have put into service sophisticated machines and men to clear the landslides and shooting stones. However the official warned that there is a prediction for more snow and rain on the highway during the next few days which could again disrupted the traffic movement.

Meanwhile, large number of vehicles, including those carrying essentials, are stranded at different places on the highway. Once the road is put through, the stranded vehicles will be allowed to move before which fresh traffic would not be allowed, he said adding stranded vehicles between Jawahar tunnel and Banihal will be allowed first to move towards Jammu.

Stranded passengers told UNI over phone from Banihal that locals opened their houses for them. There are about 400 passengers, including women and children besides elders at Banihal.

Local residents provided accommodation, food and other facilities to stranded passengers. The stranded passengers demanded that they should be allowed to use new Banihal-Qazigund tunnel to reach Kashmir. However, the tunnel is likely to be dedicated to people in March.

The national highway connecting UT Ladakh with Kashmir has been closed for winter months by the authorities due to accumulation of heavy snow and slippery road conditions.

The Anantnag-Sampathan road and Mughal road connecting south Kashmir with Rajouri, Poonch and Kishtwar in Jammu region have also been closed for winter months due to accumulation of heavy snow on theseroads.

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