JAMMU, Apr 8: At least 18 passengers had miraculous escape after shooting stones and boulders hit Jammu-Srinagar National Highway near Ramban, disrupting movement of vehicular traffic on the busy highway for about three hours this afternoon.
Official sources told the Excelsior that there was rain in Ramban-Banihal area during morning hours and again during the day today. The movement of traffic was going on smoothly despite drizzle. Then suddenly at around 2 pm, a Tavera vehicle No. JK01R/9844, moving from Srinagar side to Jammu and a local mini-bus ( JK01/0254), moving towards Banihal from Ramban side, were hit by shooting stones and got trapped in Panthyal area for some time.
The movement of vehicles was immediately stopped and passengers in the trapped vehicles ran for the safety. The drivers also ran away for their lives, leaving behind the vehicles. Some more big boulders fell down from the hillock, causing massive blockade. A big traffic jam was created on both sides of the highway.
While later, the partially damaged vehicles were pulled out from the sliding zone with the help of JCBs, it took at around three hours to the Highway authorities to clear the road.
SSP Ramban, Mohan Lal when contacted said that two passenger vehicles including a mini- bus were partially damaged in shooting stones at Panthyal but all the passengers were safe. He said the window panes of the vehicles and wind screen of the one of them got damaged but the vehicles were later pulled out from the troubled area.
The SSP further said that there was rain in the area and shooting stones is the routine affair in this particular zone on this mountainous highway. He, however, said that traffic was restored on the highway around 5 pm. The vehicles were now plying smoothly on the highway, the SSP maintained.