NH partially restored, 500 vehicles cleared; MeT forecasts rain, snow

Gopal Sharma/
Fayaz Bukhari
JAMMU/ SRINAGAR, Feb 3: The Jammu-Srinagar National Highway was partially restored and the Traffic Police authorities cleared about 500 stranded passenger vehicles towards Kashmir this evening.
Reports from Ramban said that since Tuesday, about 500 passenger vehicles including buses, tempo-travelers, Sumos/ Tavera and other vehicles had been stranded in Chanderkote, Ramban and Peera areas after the closer of highway at Mehar and near Panthial. The passengers had to face lot of problems during night. Many had to pass night in the vehicles while a large number of them could not get food and water as well. The local administration could accommodate hardly about 300-350 passengers in Ramban / Chanderkote area.
While the massive land slides at Mehar, about 4 kms short of Ramban (near main Chenab bridge) was cleared during last mid night, the work ahead of Anokhifall, near Panthial could not be initiated in the morning as some houses were located in that area and the locals at the down side of the hill objected to it.
Later, SP Ramban and Deputy Commissioner also arrived there and after talking to the locals, it was decided to lift boulders using tippers from the area and dump the ‘Mulba’ some where else. Due to this process, it took long time to clear the highway and the road was restored for one way traffic at around 5 pm.
IGP, Traffic SA Watali, when contacted, said that today no vehicles either from Jammu or Srinagar side were allowed to move on the highway. About 500 passenger vehicles stranded in Ramban and Chanderkote areas were cleared for Srinagar as the highway was restored this evening. He said about 3000 trucks/ load carriers destined for Kashmir have also been stranded between Ramban- Batote- Kud and Udhampur and they will be cleared during the night.
Watali further said that the agency at work has asked for at least 6-7 hours to make this road stretch two -way for traffic movement near Panthial. Therefore, in view of the safety of the passengers and other operators, tomorrow no movement of vehicles from Jammu or Srinagar side will be allowed. The traffic will be restored only after the clearance of the highway in better way at these 2-3 troubled areas, the IGP maintained.
An official spokesman said that keeping in view the safety of the drivers/ passengers and the prediction of rain and snowfall, commuters are advised not to park their vehicles between Jawahar Tunnel and Nowgam village (Banihal side) and between Jawahar Tunnel and Lower Munda (Qazigund side) under any circumstances. These areas being dangerous and avalanche zones should be kept free from any kind of traffic”, he added.
Meanwhile, Meteorological Department has forecast more rain and snowfall in Kashmir valley from tomorrow which could lead to disruption of air -traffic and further closure of the National Highway.