CRPF DIG among 2 killed as boulder falls on vehicle, NH again blocked

CRPF DIG’s damaged Scorpio vehicle lying on highway near Khooni Nallah in Ramban. -Excelsior/Parvez Mir
CRPF DIG’s damaged Scorpio vehicle lying on highway near Khooni Nallah in Ramban. -Excelsior/Parvez Mir

Air services resume fully at Srinagar Airport

Excelsior Correspondent
JAMMU/SRINAGAR, Dec 15: Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), North Kashmir, along with his driver was killed while his PSO critically injured when a boulder fell on his official vehicle in Ramban sector this evening whereas, Jammu-Srinagar National Highway continued to be blocked for the fourth consecutive day today.
Official sources said that the CRPF DIG, North Kashmir, Shilender Kumar Singh left for Kashmir from Ramban at around 5 pm along with his escort, after receiving information that highway was going to be cleared within an hour.

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The landslide struck the Scorpio vehicle near Khooni Nallah (Samadi Morh) at around 6.30 pm while DIG, was moving along with his escort towards the Valley. Hardly, a dozen light vehicles had crossed the point after opening of the highway.
The Jammu-Srinagar highway was closed for traffic since Thursday evening following heavy snowfall in Jawahar Tunnel and adjoining areas and multiple landslides between Ramban and Banihal. The road was cleared of the debris in the afternoon and some vehicles, including that of the DIG, were allowed to pass on priority.
While the officer’s vehicle was crossing the slide-prone area, huge boulders rolled down from the hillock overlooking the highway, crushing his vehicle.

Snow clearance work in progress at Patnitop. -Excelsior/Parvez Mir
Snow clearance work in progress at Patnitop. -Excelsior/Parvez Mir

They said rescuers immediately swung into action and managed to pull out bodies of the DIG and his driver. His Personal Security Officer Mohammad Sharief Khan, a resident of North Kashmir’s Uri, was taken to the Ramban district hospital where his condition was said to be critical. He was later referred to the Army Hospital, Udhampur.
Meanwhile, for the first time in last 10 days, the operations at Srinagar Airport resumed fully today the improvement in weather and visibility as Sun came out for the first time in these days giving some respite to the people in general and travellers in particular.
An airport official said that for the first time since December 5 all flights operated from Srinagar Airport after fog and snow disrupted the operations. No flights operated from Srinagar airport for one week between December 7 to December 13 due to dense fog and snowfall. On December 6 and 14 only, 11 and 17 fights operated from the airport due to poor visibility.
Meanwhile Sun came out for the first time in two weeks bringing some respite to the people as day temperature showed improvement in Kashmir. However, night temperature has started dipping.
Srinagar recorded maximum of 5.8 degree Celsius and minimum of minus 0.5 degree Celsius, Gulmarg, the world famous ski resort recorded maximum of minus 0.3 degree Celsius and minimum of minus 4.2 degree Celsius, Pahalgam recorded maximum of 2.6 degree Celsius and minimum of minus 3.8 degree Celsius, Qazigund maximum of 4.7 degree Celsius and minimum of minus 1.1 degree Celsius, Kokernag recorded maximum of 3.5 degree Celsius and minimum of minus 4.5 degree Celsius, while, Kupwara recorded a maximum of 7.3 degree Celsius and minimum of 2.1 degree Celsius.
In Jammu also temperature showed some improvement as weather remained almost clear today. It was near sunny day in winter capital city but sky turned cloudy in the afternoon. Jammu recorded maximum of 18.2 degree Celsius and minimum of 9.2 degree Celsius, Banihal maximum of 10.6 deg C and minimum of 1.7 deg C, Batote maximum of 7.0 deg C and minimum of 3.7 deg C, holy township of Katra recorded maximum of 14 .6 degree C and minimum of 7.8 deg C while Bhaderwah recorded maximum of 7.3 and minimum of 0.4 degree Celsius temperature.
Leh recorded maximum of 0.0 degree Celsius and minimum of minus 13.7 degree Celsius while, Drass recorded maximum of minus 0.7 degree Celsius and minimum of minus 19.5 degree Celsius today.
The power to many towns in the region has been restored by PDD staff while still many areas like Pancheri, Dudu-Basantgarh, Gandoh, Gool, Chasana, Budhal, Loran and parts of Ramban are still effected. Over 224 electric transformers were said to have been damaged.
Reports from Kathua said that snow bound Bani-Basholi road closed for traffic movement  since last two days  was cleared this evening. It was closed on various points due to heavy snowfall and landslides on the road for the last two days.
The local were facing problems in such circumstances as power supply was snapped for the last three days. The water supply was also affected in the sub division. Mobile phone service was also badly affected due to heavy snowfall  and rainfall.
Deputy Commissioner Kathua,OP Bhagat along with the team of officers today made an extensive tour to the snow affected areas of Bani Sub Division of Kathua district and took stock of snow clearance, connectivity, restoration of power and water supply and availability of ration and other essential commodities in the area.
During the tour, the DC also visited land-sliding spots like Gair, Dramani, Siani, Beacon and other adjacent places. He directed the concerned officers of BRO/ GREF and PWD department to fully gear up the men and machinery to clear snow on all the roads for hassle free traffic movement.
Meanwhile, IG Traffic, Alok Kumar said that after tragic incident near Khooni Nallah (Samadhi Morh) in Ramban sector where a CRPF officer and jawan fell victim to falling of bounder on their vehicle, the National Highway which was opened for hardly 15 minutes was again blocked. He said at two more places including Mom Passi and Panthial, the slides have blocked the road. Therefore, no movement of the vehicles is being allowed.
He said the efforts will be made to reopen the road tomorrow. But the traffic will be restored only after receiving green nod from the concerned sector officers. He advised the people to start their journey from Jammu, Srinagar, Udhampur or Anantnag side only after seeking clearance from the Traffic Control Rooms. He said Batote-Doda-Bhaderwah-Kishtwar and Chatroo roads have been restored. Many link roads in Doda belt were still closed.