Ladakh highway reopens, only stranded vehicles being allowed

SRINAGAR :  Traffic was resumed on the national highway, connecting the Ladakh region with Kashmir after remaining suspended for five days due to heavy snowfall last week.
However, only stranded vehicles would be allowed to move towards their respective destinations, a  traffic police official told.
He said traffic restored on the 434-km-long Srinagar-Leh national highway after the Border Roads Organisation (BRO), responsible for the maintainance of the highway put into service sophisticated machines and men and cleared the snow.
However, huge walls of snow could still be seen on both sides of the road.      He said no fresh vehicle will be allowed from any side until all the stranded vehicles are cleared on the highway.
More than 1000 vehicles, including empty trucks and those carrying passengers, which were stranded at Drass, Kargil, Meenmarg and other places on the other side of the Zojila pass have crossed Sonamarg for Kashmir.
There are large number of vehicles stranded at Sonamarg and other places for Ladakh region.
Fresh vehicles from both sides will be allowed after all the stranded vehicles are cleared which may take today also, he said.
The highway, linking the Ladakh region with Kashmir, was closed for traffic due to one to two feet of snowfall last week. Sophisticated machines besides dozens of men were put into service to clear the snow, a BEACON official said.
He said after working round the clock the highway was put through. However, he said early snowfall this year has forced authorities to suspend traffic on the highway twice this month.
Last year we kept the highway open till January, he said, adding that this year we may have to close the highway next month because of early snowfall.
Meanwhile, authorities have stocked essentials, including rice, atta, sugar, LPG, kerosene oil, diesel, patrol and medicine at different places in the region which remained cut off for six winter months due to snowfall, particularly in Zojila area.
However, for the past few years the highway was being kept through till December or January against previous practice of declaring the lifeline to Ladakh closed from November Ist every year. (UNI)


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