Fresh landslides, rain again block NH; 2200 more vehicles cleared

A machine clearing heaps of snow from the internal roads in Bhaderwah town on Thursday. —Excelsior/Tilak Raj
A machine clearing heaps of snow from the internal roads in Bhaderwah town on Thursday. —Excelsior/Tilak Raj

Gopal Sharma

JAMMU, Feb 14: Fresh landslides in Ramban area and snowfall at Jawahar Tunnel on Pir Panchal Ranges again blocked the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway this evening, while 2200 more trucks and other load carriers crossed towards Kashmir today, despite inclement weather conditions.
Rain in the entire region and snowfall at the higher reaches further reduced the temperature and threw normal life out of gear. As the rain in Ramban and Banihal belt intensified after 4 pm, followed by snowfall at Pir Panchal and Jawahar Tunnel area and some landslides at Maroog and Panthyal, the authorities stalled movement of the vehicles.
IGP Traffic, J&K, Alok Kumar when contacted said that despite disruptions at 2-3 places between Ramban and Banihal besides Narsoo Nalla in Chenani-Udhampur stretch, the movement of vehicles towards Kashmir continued through out the day today. He said about 2200 trucks and load carriers carrying fresh vegetables, sheep/goats etc besides other supplies were cleared for Kashmir and they crossed Jawahar Tunnel.
But after 5 pm, movement of the vehicles had to be stopped as fresh landslide hit the highway at Maroog. The rain also intensified in the area and snowfall at JT also aggravated. In view of slippery road conditions at Jawahar Tunnel and land slides at Marog and continuous shooting stones at three places -Panthyal, Battery Chashma and Marog as well, the highway was closed. He said about 1600 trucks were onway to Kashmir from Udhampur and Jammu side, but they have been stranded near Peerah, Chanderkot and Ramban at safer places. There is no possibility of resumption of traffic tonight as it was heavily raining. The situation will be reviewed tomorrow morning.
Kumar however, said that Batote-Doda-Kishtwar and Bhaderwah roads were clear and vehicular movement was going on there.
Meanwhile, in view of miseries of the people residing in far off areas in absence of road connectivity which got snapped after heavy snowfall on Feburary 7, R&B/ PMGSY authorities pressed 10 snow clearing machines to expedite the restoration work in Bhaderwah sub division.
According to AEE PMGSY Bhaderwah, “extra men and machines have been pressed into service since last four days on a dozen PMGSY roads of Bhaderwah and till Thursday afternoon, two roads have been made fully motorable, while eight roads partially restored and on the remaining four roads, snow clearance work is being carried out.”
Teams led by AEE Atta Mohd were deployed on the snow bound roads including Sartingal-Katyara, Chakka-Mathola, Dalain-Dharmunda, Kansar Road, Druddu-Gutasa, Drudu-Manva, Seri-Chattra, Senaa-Dugli, Bhalla-Tainsna, Bhalla-Malothi, Bhalla-Gajoth, Bhalla-Trown, Bhalla-Dhalla and Bhalra-Ghuraka.
“Earlier after heavy snowfall, our roads remained closed till March ending but this time authorities did a commendable job by starting restoration work of roads in February itself but the work of restoration is going on at slow pace. To provide some relief to the people especially those residing in far-off areas, it should be expedited so that all roads can be restored at the earliest,” said Yasir Ali from village Katyara.
“Due to road blockage after heavy snowfall, we are facing acute shortage of medicines, ration, cooking gas and Kerosene Oil, beside we are going through from several other problems in absence of electricity and water supply as well since last 10 days,” said Satish Kumar, Naib Sarpanch Bhejja.
AEE Atta Mohd said, “as of now, out of 14 roads, we have restored 10 and after meeting with locals at several places, we have expedited the work.”
Meanwhile, in Bhaderwah town main roads have been cleared but many lanes are still snow clad and people are facing lot of problems in daily movement. The restoration work in many areas of Doda, Thathri, Gandoh, Kishtwar, Chhatroo and were Paddar area has also been launched. The power supply was still snapped.
In Bani area of Kathua , there was no power supply since February 6 and the people are suffering badly. The poles and cables are said to have damaged in heavy snowfall. The road was however restored after five days on Tuesday. Dudu-Basantgarh area of Udhampur was also still cut off and the people are facing lot of hardships.
Meanwhile, Director Meteorological department Sonam Lotus said that due to Western Disturbances (WD), the weather in the region has turned inclement. He said the weather will improve from tomorrow afternoon and it will be clear sky on Saturday.