6000 vehicles stranded as NH remains blocked for 14 hours

A machine engaged to clear blockade at National Highway in Ramban area on Tuesday. -Excelsior/Parvez Mir

DGP, IGP Traffic visit sites of landslides

Gopal Sharma
JAMMU, May 14: Over 6000 vehicles remained stranded on the Jammu- Srinagar National Highway for over 12 to 14 hours as landslides again blocked highway near Digdol and Monkey Morh in Ramban sector during early hours today.
Official sources told the Excelsior that due to rain in Ramban area last night, the landslides took place at around 4 am in Digdol and Monkey Morh land sliding zones, about 10 kms ahead of Ramban town. A large portion of the highway was affected with the falling of boulders from the mountain top. The movement of traffic came to a halt.
After 7 am, the HCC and National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) officials engaged some machines for operation clearance on the highway. Earlier, the Monkey Morh slide was cleared during noon while the work on second sliding zone near Digdol continued through out the day but shooting stones/ falling of boulders hampered the operation many times.
However, traffic from Kashmir to Jammu was allowed at around 6 pm by the Highway authorities and Police. Movement of vehicles was stalled for about 14 long hours and many passengers had tough time in the absence of food and water on the highway.

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Director General of Police, J&K Dilbag Singh along with IGP Traffic, J&K Alok Kumar visited different places of National Highway at Ramban and held meeting with the officers with regard to often closure of Jammu-Srinagar Highway and measures for smooth flow of traffic on it.
The meeting was attended by Anita Sharma, SSP Ramban, JS Johar- SSP Traffic NHW, Suresh Sharma, DySP Traffic NHW, Asgar Ali, DySP Hqrs Ramban and other officers.
The DGP along with officers and representative of HCC company Manohar Sharma had an on the spot review of the major slide sites including Mehar, Marog-1, Marog-2, Monkey Morh, Anokhifall and Digdol. He reviewed the measures being taken by the HCC company immediately so that the highway remains open. He issued on the spot instructions for ensuring adequate measures to be put in place to minimize the inconvenience caused to commuters.
The DGP also discussed in detail the immediate measures required to be taken in view of the coming Amarnath Ji Yatra from June ending with focus on contingency measures to be put in place and preparedness for disaster management including provisioning of shelter sheds and maintenance of dumping sites for emergency parking.
The officers briefed the DGP regarding the recurring slides on the vulnerable sites and the difficulties being faced by them in smooth flow of traffic.
The DGP appreciated the role of SHO Ramban Insp Vijay Kotwal in providing timely Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) aid to a passenger thereby saving a precious life. As a token of appreciation, the DGP presented him a commendation certificate and a cash reward of Rs 5000.
Meanwhile, IG Traffic, Alok Kumar, when contacted, said that Jammu-Srinagar National Highway which was again blocked due to massive landslides at two places near Digdol in Rambar section at around 4 am this morning, could be restored for one way traffic at around 6 pm this evening. He said today there was movement of convoy from Kashmir to Jammu.
The IGP Traffic disclosed that around 2000 vehicles were stranded between Digdol-Banihal and Jawahar Tunnel area while nearly 4000 on other side of the Tunnel i.e. between Lower Munda and Qazigund. He said shooting stones and falling of boulders created hurdles many times in the restoration work. Ultimately, shooting stones slowed down the and movement of stranded vehicles was allowed at around 6 pm. He said up to 10.30 pm tonight, more than 600 vehicles crossed towards Jammu but shooting stones were disrupting movement after every 15-20 minutes, intermittently, he added.
“We can’t say for how much time the road will remain clear. Any time boulders can fall and again block road. Moreover, during night hours, there is great risk in allowing movement of vehicles in this dangerous zone,” the IGP Traffic said.
Meanwhile, rain lashed parts of Reasi, Rajouri, Ramban and Udhampur today. In Balmatkote, Manjikote, Dandkote, Bagankote and Gulabgarh areas of Mahore Sub Division, hail storm caused much damage to the crops and fruits. With rain and hailstorm in these areas, there has been considerable fall in temperature in parts of Jammu region.