Driver dies as rock falls on truck

Army troops with police rescuing stranded passengers in Dera Ki Gali area of Poonch on Sunday. Another pic on page 6 (UNI)
Army troops with police rescuing stranded passengers in Dera Ki Gali area of Poonch on Sunday. Another pic on page 6 (UNI)

Upper reaches receive snow, 9 rescued
*NH partially blocked, over 2000 vehicles stranded

Gopal Sharma

JAMMU, Mar 8: A driver was killed when a boulder fell on a truck at Khooni Nallah in Ramban area and three CRPF men were injured after their vehicle was hit with a boulder on the road near Udhampur while Army rescued nine passengers as a Tata Sumo vehicle was trapped in snow in Dera Ki Gali (DKG) area on Thanamandi-Bafliaz Road today.
The upper reaches of Kashmir and parts of Jammu region including Rajouri, Poonch, Ramban, Doda and Kishtwar experienced fresh snowfall during early hours today while Sun shone in many plain areas of Jammu. With fresh snowfall, the temperature has witnessed further fall in the region today. Click here to watch video
Reports from Ramban said that a big boulder fell on a parked truck near Khooni Nallah in Ramban sector, on Jammu-Srinagar National Highway, killing sleeping driver in the cabin on the spot. His cleaner had miraculous escape in the incident. The deceased has been identified as Dev Ram from Rajasthan.
The body was shifted to Ramban by police after the road was made operational around 12 noon. Another truck carrying LPG cylinders to Kashmir was hit by boulders near Panthyal but the driver and cleaner escaped unhurt.
Three CRPF men were injured when their vehicle was hit by a boulder lying on the road near Udhampur today. They were provided first aid at Udhampur, the police said.
Multiple landslides in Panthyal, Ramsu and Ramban areas blocked the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway last evening and the road could be restored around 12 noon today. A large number of stranded vehicles were cleared but the highway was again blocked at around 4 pm due to land slides and shooting stones at Panthyal and Kela Morh. Over 2000 vehicles were said to be stranded in Udhampur, Dhar Road and Nagrota Bypass area of Jammu.
SSP Traffic, National Highway, J S Johar told the Excelsior that after 7 pm the highway was restored partially as only movement of heavy vehicles towards Kashmir was allowed amidst frequent disruptions on the highway. He said during night hours, the movement of Light Motor Vehicles/ all types of passenger vehicles has been stopped from both the sides for precautionary measures.
Johar further said that the people intending to move from Jammu or Srinagar side, are advised to contact Traffic Control Rooms at both the capital cities before commencing their journey.
Reports from Rajouri said that Army troops from `Romeo Force’ braved harsh weather and incessant snow and rain near Dera Ki Gali to rescue nine passengers including five female passengers travelling from Thanamandi to Bafliaz today. They were going to mourn the death of their relative at Bafliaz and left for the destination in the morning but were trapped near Dera Ki Gali at around 8.30 am. The Tata Sumo vehicle in which they were traveling got stuck in one and half feet snow, which kept increasing with every passing minute.
On receiving information about the trapping of vehicle, troops of 38 RR and Thannamandi police teams led by SDPO Sajjad Khan besides cops stationed at Dera Ki Gali launched rescue operation and reached the site after covering 7 km distance on foot. They rescued the passengers and also dragged out the vehicle later. The people remained struck for three hours. They were comforted at the DKG Army unit with tea, heating system and medical attention. The locals of the area lauded the troops for their timely assistance.
Meanwhile, world famous ski resort of Gulmarg and other upper reaches received fresh snowfall while bright sunshine greeted people in plains in Kashmir valley, including Srinagar and parts of Jammu region on Sunday.
The night temperature remained below normal at most of places in the Valley, where another spell of rain and snow was predicted from Wednesday.
A MeT department spokesperson said that light rain and snow would occur at some places during the next 24 hours in Kashmir valley.
”The weather is expected to improve slightly for two days from Monday”, he said.
However, a fresh Western disturbance which originated from the Arabian sea and was approaching the region though Afghanistan and Pakistan, would hit J&K on Wednesday.
”Under the influence of this WD, heavy rain and snow would re-occur at isolated places while light to moderate rain and snow would occur at many places in the Valley and parts of Jammu,” he added.
Gulmarg tourist resort, received fresh snow since early this morning, resulting in further dip in the day temperature. Kongdori and Apharwat, the highest point of the cable car project in Gulmarg, also received light to moderate snowfall. “Despite snow since early this morning, the players from different parts of the country were out on ski- slopes, where first ever Khelo India-winter was being held,” an official said.
The night temperature in the ski resort was minus 3 degree, against minus 3.6 degree recorded on Saturday. About 500 players from different parts of the country are participating in 30 events of the first ever Khelo India-winter games which commenced from Saturday at Gulmarg, where the ski slopes are covered under several feet of snow.
After witnessing slight dip in the night temperature, people woke up to a chilly Sunday morning in the summer capital, Srinagar. However, as the day progressed, sun came out from behind the clouds, resulting in improvement in the day temperature.
Against minus 3.2 degree recorded on Saturday, the night temperature in Srinagar was minus 2.7 degree, which is below normal.
He said skies would be generally cloudy to very light rain during the next 24 hours in Srinagar, where maximum and minimum temperatures will be around 13 degree and 3 degree, respectively.
Sky was cloudy in world famous health resort of Pahalgam, in south Kashmir, resulting in dip in the day temperature. The night temperature at the health resort improved and settled at 0.4 degree on Sunday.
However, the upper reaches in Pahalgam, including Chandanwari, received very light snowfall. Amarnath cave shrine and its periphery, besides Sheshnag, Mahaguns, Pisso Top and Panjterni, also received light to moderate snowfall.
Other parts of the Valley, including tourist resort of Kokernag and Kupwara in north Kashmir also received rain. Qazigund, gateway to the Valley and Jawahar Tunnel on Srinagar-Jammu National Highway, Mughal Road and hilly areas of Poonch, Loran, Sawjian, Dera Gali, Bhaderwah, Gool, Ramban and Doda also received light snowfall during early hours today.