40 houses damaged in avalanche
Gopal Sharma/Fayaz Bukhari
JAMMU/SRINAGAR, Feb 22: The Jammu- Srinagar National Highway was partially restored this evening and over 600 stranded Light Motor Vehicles (LMVs) were cleared for Kashmir while movement of over 250 stranded oil/ LPG tankers towards Kashmir has been stalled as major portion of highway has sunk between Kud and Patnitop, whereas, at least 40 houses were damaged in avalanche in Gurez area of Kashmir.
Official sources said while one- way movement of stranded LMVs near Panthyal and Ramban area was allowed this evening after restoration of highway, the movement of stranded heavy vehicles towards Kashmir will be allowed tomorrow, subject to weather condition. However, the movement of stranded oil/ fuel tankers from Chenani-Kud area is not possible as the road sunk during the day on Thursday and it could not be restored even today by the National Highway authorities.
IGP Traffic, J&K, Alok Kumar told the Excelsior that landslides at Panthyal and ahead of it were cleared during the day today and around 200 stranded light motor vehicles near Panthyal bridge were cleared for Kashmir at around 2 pm. But there were at least four land slides between Ramban and Panthyal including Maroog zone and that too, were cleared for passage of single vehicles by 7 pm and the movement of stranded passenger Light Motor Vehicles from Ramban and Chanderkote was allowed towards Kashmir.
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He said over 600 vehicles crossed Banihal and Jawahar Tunnel area tonight and the movement of other all type of vehicles from Ramban, Chanderkote, Peerah and Udhampur side will be allowed towards Kashmir subject to weather condition.
Referring to the sinking of road between Kud and Patnitop, the IG Traffic said a portion of road started sinking yesterday morning after heavy rain. An oil tanker parked there also rolled down. Its operators, however, escaped. He said only narrow portion of the road is left and the movement of loaded heavy vehicles is not possible. He said till the road is restored by the concerned authorities, the movement of over 250 stranded oil/ fuel/ LPG tankers towards Kashmir valley is not possible.
Kumar said Batote -Kishtwar road was cleared last evening but fresh landslides again blocked it and the road could be restored today. He said over 2000 trucks and other load carriers were stranded in Udhampur Bypass, Dhar Road, Nagrota and Jammu area. These vehicles will also be cleared tomorrow or the day after.
Deputy Commissioner Ramban, Showkat Aijaz, SSP Anita Sharma, SSP Traffic National Highway, J S Johar and DySP Traffic, Suresh Sharma were personally supervising the highway restoration work in Ramban area. Additional deployment of Traffic and Police cops was ensured on the highway to avoid traffic jams.
Reports from Srinagar said that about 40 houses were damaged after avalanche hit Khandiyal village in Gurez area of Bandipora in North Kashmir.
Official sources said avalanche hit village late on Thursday night, causing extensive damage to 25 houses and partially to 15 others. However, no loss of life has been reported as the people had already moved to the safer places. Former Deputy Speaker Nazir Ahmed Gurezi has demanded relief for the victims.
Reports from Udhampur said that one Sham Lal (47) was killed on the spot and his son Rajinder Kumar (16), residents of Thore village in Latti, seriously injured after a large tree fell on them this evening. They were going to attend marriage function at a nearby village and moving through the forest area. Dozens of other trees had fallen due to rain and windstorm in the area during last 4-5 days. There was light rain and wind was also blowing. Suddenly, they came under the tree. The injured boy was rushed to PHC Latti and then referred to District Hospital, Udhampur.
Meanwhile, Chenani-Latti-Dudu-Basantgarh Road was lying closed for the last about one week. Latti-Dudu-Basantgarh stretch was blocked for the last 15 days. Sarpanch Latti, K L Gupta said that the water supply in Latti town was restored today after 24 days while power supply to entire Dudu and Basantgarh Sub Divisions has been snapped for the last more than two weeks.
Udhampur-Pancheri-Landhar road could not be restored even today while, traffic on Basohli-Bani road was restored this afternoon. But power supply to many far flung areas of Bani and Billawar was still snapped. Similar is the condition in Bhaderwah, Doda and Kishtwar area. Several link roads in Gandoah-Manoo- Chilly areas are also blocked.
Mahore-Gool and Mahore-Budhal roads are still blocked and moreover, Mandi-Sawjian road in Poonch was also blocked for the last two days due to landslides. Ramnagar-Majori-Basantgarh Road and Ramnagar Ghordi Road was also blocked for the last one week. Power supply to these rural areas could not be restored even after two weeks.
A senior official said that over 20 houses have been damaged only in Dudu Sub Division during rains and snowfall for the last one week while house of one Mansha Begum, widow of Mohd Abdullah collapsed due to rains at Dandote in Budhal last night. In Bani area also about eight houses have been damaged. However, no loss of life has been reported from anywhere so far.
40 houses damaged in avalanche