Entire Kashmir, Doda-Kishtwar cut off as NH blocked near Udhampur

Jammu-Srinagar National Highway blocked near Samroli in Udhampur on Monday. -Excelsior/K Kumar
Jammu-Srinagar National Highway blocked near Samroli in Udhampur on Monday. -Excelsior/K Kumar

Gopal Sharma/ Fayaz Bukhari

JAMMU/ SRINAGAR , Feb 28: After massive landslide on Jammu-Srinagar National Highway near Samroli in Udhampur district last night, the land link to entire Kashmir region besides Ramban, Doda, Kishtwar districts of Jammu district has been snapped while over 2500 vehicles have been stranded at various places.
Official sources said that due to continuous rain for the last couple of days, massive landslides took place near Samroli around 2.30 am last night. Due to blasting of rocks in the road widening process, the loose rocks in the shape of big boulders fell on the highway, effecting nearly 100 meters area. It is believed that no vehicle was moving in that area at that time and no loss of life or injury to any road user was reported.
SSP Traffic National Highway, Shabir Ahmed Malik said that at around 2.30 am last night loose boulders from the hillock near Samroli, between Udhampur and Nashri Tunnel suddenly started rolling down and extensively damaged Jammu-Srinagar National Highway. He said a major portion of the highway was damaged and some of the vehicle operators were lucky to spot this happening and at once stopped their movement. He said no loss of life has been reported in the midnight landslide incident. Click here to watch video
After this, the frequent felling of boulders continued for some time. The movement of vehicles on the either side along the highway came to grinding halt. He said that with the highway blockade at Samroli, the land link to Kashmir, Ramban, Banihal, Kishtwar, Doda, Batote, Bhaderwah, Chenani. Latti and Dudu area has been snapped.
An official spokesman said that 1500 vehicles were stranded at different places along Jammu-Srinagar Highway on the south of Pir Panjal while about 800 in Doda, Assar, Thathri, Kishtwar, Batote, Bhaderwah and about 200 in Chenani- Basht, Sudhmahadev, Man Talai, Latti and Dudu areas. He said Ramnagar-Majori-Basantgarh road is already closed due to landslides at Gand Top for the last three days.
He said after blasting of rocks, a narrow passage was created to clear some stranded LMVs late this evening at Samroli but highway was still closed. It is expected to be restored by tomorrow afternoon as the work was in progress on war footing, official added.
Meanwhile, ADG of Police I/C Jammu Zone Mukesh Singh, DC and SSP Udhampur also paid visit to landslides site and supervised the road clearance work. They directed the NH authorities to deploy more machines and cleared the highway by tomorrow morning.
Meanwhile, Traffic Police authorities while issuing advisory said that no fresh movement of vehicles from Srinagar or Jammu side will be allowed on Tuesday. They said to avoid traffic jamming on the busy highway, after road clearance tomorrow, all the stranded vehicles on the either side will be cleared. The LMV operators should move after confirming about the status of highway from the Traffic Control Rooms at Srinagar and Jammu during next couple of days. He said a large number of Jammu bound vehicles have been stranded in Ramban, Banihal and Nashri areas as well.
Reports from Srinagar said that Sun came out in Kashmir today giving some relief to people from the cold while night temperatures plummeted across the Valley.
A Meteorological Department official said that there will be partly cloudy weather till March 1 and cloudy with possibility of light rain/snow (over higher reaches) during 2-3rd March. “There’s no forecast of any significant weather till March 5,” he added.
He said night temperatures in Srinagar recorded a drop in night temperature with mercury settling at minus 0.6 degree Celsius against last night’s 0.4 degree Celsius.
Qazigund recorded a low of minus 3.8 degree Celsius against minus 0.4 degree Celsius the previous night. Kokernag had a low of minus 2.6 degree Celsius against minus 1.8 degree Celsius the previous night.
Pahalgam recorded a low of minus 6.8 degree Celsius against minus 5.4 degree Celsius last night. Gulmarg recorded a low of minus 8.0 degree Celsius against minus 9.5 degree Celsius the previous night. The temperature was 2.2 degree Celsius below normal for this time of the year. Kupwara recorded a low of minus 1.9 degree Celsius against minus 0.1 degree Celsius the previous night.
While ‘Chillai Kalan’, the 40-day long harshest period of winter ended on January 30, and 20-day long ‘Chillai Khurd’ culminated on February 19, Kashmir is presently under the grip of 10-day-long ‘Chilla Bachha’.
Leh recorded a minimum of minus 12.8 degree Celsius against last night minus 7.5 degree Celsius the previous night. Kargil recorded a low of minus 17.6 degree Celsius. Drass recorded a low of minus 22.0 degree Celsius, against 15.4 degree Celsius the previous night.