NH closed, 400 passenger vehicles stranded

Excelsior Correspondent
JAMMU, Feb 20: The traffic on Jammu-Srinagar National Highway remained suspended for several hours since last mid night while the highway was again closed due to fresh land slides at Ramsu late this evening.
Official sources said that over 400 Kashmir bound light and medium passenger vehicles have been stranded between Ramsu, Ramban and Chanderkote areas. Earlier, more than 1500 vehicles cleared to Jammu side from Kashmir and these vehicles also crossed Ramsu and Ramban land-sliding zones as well. Even more than 1200 LMVs crossed this problematic area before the closure of the highway at Mom Passi near Ramsu late this evening.
Inspector General of Police, Traffic, J&K, Alok Kumar told the Excelsior that due to heavy rains in Ramban-Banihal area last night, the National Highway was closed due to fresh land slides at Maroog, Digdol and Anokhi Fall. The highway could be cleared during mid day today. Then over 1500 vehicles including trucks and tankers were cleared for Jammu from Kashmir side. But shooting stones suspended movement of the vehicles several times during the day.
The IG said despite this, over 1500-1600 passenger Light vehicles were allowed to move towards Kashmir from Jammu side. More than 1200 vehicles crossed the landslide zone but again massive land slides at Mom Passi blocked the National Highway at around 7.30 pm and the highway has again been blocked. The IG said it is raining heavily in the area and as the weather improves, the machines will be pressed into service. Moreover, during night it is very risky to carry out clearing operation at such dangerous zone where shooting stones may lead into casualties.
Responding to a question , the IG Traffic said that about 400-500 light and medium vehicles including many those of locals and Kashmir bound have been stranded between Ramsu-Ramban and Chanderkote-Nashri. As and when the highway is restored, first of all the stranded vehicles will be cleared. Thereafter, the Kashmir bound trucks, oil tankers and other load carriers will be allowed to move towards Kashmir tomorrow, subject the weather conditions.
Kumar said the MeT department has predicted rain and snowfall at many places in next 24 hours. ” Till 7 pm, there was no snowfall in Jawahar Tunnel area and the movement of vehicles was going on. But since it was raining in that area as well late this evening. There were chances of snowfall any time there also,” the IG Traffic maintained.
Meanwhile, a MeT spokesman has predicted rain at most of the places across the region and snowfall at the higher reaches including Pir Panchal area in next 24 hours. He said the weather will improve after Thursday.