NH blocked, snow clearance work in full swing

A pregnant woman being carried by policemen from snowclad Chilly village up to hospital in Doda. -Excelsior/Rafi Choudhary
A pregnant woman being carried by policemen from snowclad Chilly village up to hospital in Doda. -Excelsior/Rafi Choudhary

Gopal Sharma

JAMMU, Jan 10: While snow clearance work is going on at full swing in Doda, Kishtwar, Ramban, Poonch and other areas of the region, the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway was again blocked after fresh snowfall and shooting stones in Ramban sector this evening.
Official sources said that at around 7 pm today, when movement of Light Motor Vehicles was in progress from Banihal and Qazigund side to Jammu, suddenly shooting stones from the hillock started at Panthyal. It was followed by major landsliding at the site. Thereafter, the restoration work could not be initiated and about 300 light vehicles were stranded between Banihal and near Ramban.

Snow clearance work in progress at Gandoh town in Doda district on Monday. -Excelsior/Rafi Choudhary
Snow clearance work in progress at Gandoh town in Doda district on Monday. -Excelsior/Rafi Choudhary

SSP National Highway, Shabir Malik who was at the site around 8.45 pm monitoring situation told the Excelsior that shooting stones continued frequently at Panthyal and a major slide at around 7 pm blocked the highway. He said it was very dangerous to initiate restoration work during night hours as boulders are still falling. There are chances of opening highway during the day tomorrow.
Malik further said that about 250 vehicles on way to Ramban, Udhampur and Jammu from Banihal side were said to have been stranded. They have been asked to move back to Banihal or other safer places as it was dangerous to stay there on the road for long. He said tomorrow after clearing road movement of heavy vehicles stranded in Banihal and Qazigund area will be allowed towards Jammu. Even today during morning around 8 am, landslides took place at Magerkote, Seri and Khooni Nallah but the highway was restored at around 11.30 am. Since then up to 7 pm, movement of only LMVs from both sides was allowed.
Meanwhile, reports from Doda and Kishtwar said that massive road and lanes clearance work was in progress in snowbound areas of the districts, like Bhaderwah, Gandoh, Chhatroo and other towns. Many link roads have been blocked and R&B authorities have engaged snow-cutters/ machines on road clearance work. Similar operation was in progress in Dudu-Latti-Basantgarh, Pancheri area of Udhampur, Gool Gulabgarh and Banihal area of Ramban besides, Sawjian, Loran, Mandi and, Bafliaz- Dera Gali areas of Poonch. The power supply to many areas was restored today and the restoration work was still in progress in other areas.
Reports from Bhaderwah said that considering the miseries of the people residing in far off areas in absence of road connectivity which got snapped after heavy snowfall, Administration expedited the restoration process in.
Tehsildar Bhaderwah Showket Hayat Mattoo visited several localities of Bhaderwah to inspect the ongoing restoration work and directed authorities to speed up the process to restore all roads.
The Tehsildar said that extra men and machineries have been pressed into service since yesterday and maximum roads have been partially restored which on the remaining, snow clearance work is being carried out. He said that most of the roads are covered with 3 to 5 feet of snow but men are on the job and have deployed dozens of machines for restoration work. A pregnant woman was rescued by police men from snow clad remote Chilly village and was brought to Doda hospital on- foot. The locals appreciated the gesture of Doda police.
While replying to a question, the Tehsildar said that Jal Shakti Department has been directed to restore the water supply in all areas. He informed that they have enough stock of essential commodities in Bhaderwah. It is notable to mention here that since last 3 days, most of the areas remain under darkness across Bhaderwah.