Massive landslides block road tunnel on Dhar road

Excelsior Correspondent
UDHAMPUR, Sept 15: Massive landslides triggered by the overnight heavy rainfall blocked road tunnel at Darsoo, about 18 kilometers from here on Dhar Road, leading to stranding of hundreds of vehicles particularly trucks carrying essential commodities to Kashmir valley for several hours.
Reports said that heavy rainfall since last night triggered massive landslides in the wee hours of today at two places at Darsoo on the Dhar Road, which is being used by large number of truckers carrying essential commodities from Lakhanpur to the Kashmir valley for being shortest route to reach Udhampur.
Due to landslides not only some portion of the road suffered extensive damage even road tunnel also got blocked because of huge boulders rolling down from the unstable rock. Though there was no loss of life or property in the landslide yet hundreds of vehicles got stranded on both sides of Darsoo.
On getting information about the blockade of Dhar road, Border Roads Organization (BRO), which is responsible for the maintenance of this alternate road to Udhampur, immediately pressed its men and machinery into service from both sides and started road clearance work. However, till late this evening the BRO could not make the road traffic worthy.
Since number of stranding vehicles was increasing with every passing hour, the Traffic Police diverted the Udhampur-bound vehicles via Jandrah while as those heading towards Dhar Road from Udhampur side were diverted to main Jammu-Srinagar National Highway in order to avoid inconvenience to the vehicle operators, traffic jamming and ensure road clearance work without any hindrance.
“The Traffic Police authorities have been asked not to allow any movement of vehicles on Dhar Road till the BRO completely restores the road”, official sources said.
When contacted, District Development Commissioner Udhampur, Pandurang Pole said, “due to landslides opening of road tunnel towards Manwal side has got blocked completely”, adding “as huge boulders have rolled down on the road and opening of tunnel the Border Roads Organization had to press stone cutters and drilling machines into service”.
In response to a question, Mr Pole said, “the BRO authorities have conveyed to the district administration that they would be able to clear the road by tomorrow afternoon”.
Sources said that landslides at these spots during the rainy season is a routine affair but no major step has so far been initiated by the BRO to prevent rolling down of boulders from the rock. “Moreover, despite being aware of the fact that this stretch of Dhar road is vulnerable to accidents and on other side river is flowing parapets have also not been constructed”, sources added.


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