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NH opens for traffic; avalanche warning issued

Army fails to airlift bodies, rescued jawans

Fayaz Bukhari
Srinagar, Jan 29:  Despite snowfall in Jawahar Tunnel area, around 2200 vehicles crossed towards Srinagar and divisional administration issued high danger avalanche warning in the hills of Kashmir today.
SSP Traffic Rural Kashmir, Fayaz Ahmad Lone said here that 2193 vehicles including 1326 Light Motor Vehicles, 483 Heavy Motor Vehicles, 140 Oil tankers, 30 gas trucks, 11 buses, 131 Tata mobile and other vehicles carrying vegetables, 2 chicken trucks and 70 trucks carrying sheep cross the Jawahar Tunnel towards Srinagar. However, sources said that majority of these vehicles were stranded on the National Highway for past several days as the Highway opened for traffic after remaining closed for traffic for four days.
An official said that the road condition is very bad and early in the morning Border Roads Organization (BRO) cleared slides and shooting stones from the highway at several places.
Lone said that the traffic will ply from Srinagar to Jammu tomorrow in regulated manner as the road width at various places is narrow. “Keeping in view the condition of the road, especially between Udhampur -Ramsoo and Banihal to Levdora in Qazigund coupled with narrow width of road at certain places, only one way movement of traffic is feasible/advisable on Srinagar- Jammu NHW”, he said.
“As such subject to fair weather and good condition of road tomorrow, movement of traffic shall be allowed from Srinagar towards Jammu side in a regulated manner. The movement of all the vehicles (excluding Trailers/multi-axle vehicles) shall be allowed from Levdora from 0800 hours and all these vehicles shall cross Jawahar Tunnel by 1500 hours positively”, he said.
“No movement of traffic including that of convoys of Army, BSF, CRPF etc. shall be allowed from Jammu towards Srinagar side tomorrow under any circumstances to avoid hassle free movement of traffic. Commuters are requested/advised that vehicles are not parked in any landslide/avalanche/vulnerable zones of NHW especially from Ramsoo – Jawahar Tunnel – Levdora under any circumstances. All the vulnerable/avalanche prone zones should be kept free from any kind of traffic to avoid any eventuality”, Lone said.
The divisional administration Kashmir this evening issued a high danger avalanche warning valid for next 24-hours for avalanche prone areas in Kashmir.
According to the office of Divisional Commissioner Kashmir, high danger avalanche warning from January 29 (1700 hrs) to January 30, 2017 (1700 hrs) exists for avalanche prone slopes in Kupwara, Bandipora,  Baramulla, Ganderbal, Kulgam, Budgam and Kargil districts of Kashmir Division.
All the Deputy Commissioners of Kashmir division including Leh and Kargil have been asked to advise people not to venture in avalanche prone areas and to keep clearing snow depositions from roof tops of their houses/bunkers to avoid damages. Besides to take all precautionary measures so to avert any untoward incident.
In the meantime, Air traffic resumed from Srinagar Airport following improvement in visibility after remaining affected yesterday due to fresh snowfall. However, morning flights were delayed due to poor visibility. As many as 15 flights operated from the airport between Srinagar, Jammu and New Delhi as per schedule.
The efforts by the Army to bring the bodies of 14 Army personnel killed in Gurez in avalanches that struck their camp and a patrol party on January 25 failed today due to fresh snowfall and rains.
The efforts to airlift the army jawans, who were rescued from snow in Macchil sector two days back, to 92-Base Hospital at Badami Bagh Cantonment in Srinagar failed for second consecutive day today due to bad weather.
The MeT office has forecast scattered rainfall or snow over two days from today, after which, it said, there is possibility of fairly widespread rainfall or snow on January 31.
Meanwhile, most areas of Kashmir received rains and snowfall yesterday, but the weather stayed mainly dry for most part of the night.
Leh in Ladakh region was the coldest recorded place in Kashmir division last night even as the minimum temperature there improved. The mercury in Leh settled at minus 5.2 degree Celsius – up nearly five degrees from the previous night’s low of minus 10.1 degree Celsius.
Gulmarg was the second coldest place with a minimum of minus 4 degree Celsius.
Other places, including the summer capital Srinagar, also witnessed night temperatures around the freezing point, the official said.

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