NH remains blocked for 3rd day; 5000 vehicles stranded

Snow clearance work in progress between Banihal and Jawahar Tunnel on Saturday. -Excelsior/Parvaiz Mir
Snow clearance work in progress between Banihal and Jawahar Tunnel on Saturday. -Excelsior/Parvaiz Mir

Power supply, communication too snapped
Gopal Sharma
JAMMU/SRINAGAR, Dec 14: While Air traffic at Srinagar Airport resumed today after remaining suspended for a week due to heavy rain and snowfall, the Jammu- Srinagar National Highway and many link roads remained closed on the 3rd consecutive day, whereas, nearly 5000 vehicles were stranded at various places along the highway.
The power supply to many hilly and snowbound areas across the region has been snapped with the damage caused to power infrastructure due to continuous rain and heavy snowfall, adding to the sufferings of the people. The snow could not be cleared from many roads and lanes in the hilly towns of the region even after two days.
A senior official said that 17 flights operated today from Srinagar Airport, bringing major respite to the passengers. However, in the morning hours a dozen flights were cancelled due to poor visibility. Over 4000 people travelled to and fro from Srinagar Airport this afternoon.
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He said weather cleared this morning leading to increase in the visibility. An Air Asia flight in the morning, however, failed to land due to poor visibility and around a dozen morning flights were cancelled. In the afternoon, flight operation remained normal.
Official sources said that due to closure of Jammu-Srinagar National Highway heavy rush of passengers at Jammu Bus Stand was witnessed. Long queues of trucks and other heavy vehicles and passenger vehicles were witnessed on Nagrota-Sudhara Bypass Road, Tikri-Udhampur and Dhar Road besides Samba- Mansar, Dyala Chak -Chhallan Road, Chanderkote- Ramban, Banihal and Qazigund-Anantnag section of the Highway. Over 5000 vehicles were said to have been stranded on the highway for the last three days. At Ramban about 150 LMVs and Banihal nearly 100 light vehicles were also stranded since Thursday evening.
With the improvement in weather condition this afternoon in Jammu areas, power supply to several towns was restored. In Bhaderwah town also power was restored after two days this evening but supply in many areas like Latti-Dudu-Basantgarh, Pancheri, Majori, Bani, Machhedi, Loang, Mahore, Budhal, Loran, Sawjian, Bafliaz, Balakote, Mankote, Paddar, Marwah Dakshin, Gandoh, Dessa, Banihal, Gool, Sangaldan and many parts of Ramban could not be restored. Even in Ramban district headquarters, the power supply could not be fully restored.
Most of the fights operated from Jammu airport today as the flights for Srinagar also resumed operation after 12 noon today. The chopper service to Mata Vaishnodevi shrine from Katra base camp and Battery car also resumed this afternoon with the improvement in weather.
Deputy Commissioner, Kishtwar Angrez Singh Rana said that Batote-Doda-Kishtwar highway has been restored while most of the link roads in the district were still blocked. He said power supply to Kishtwar has been restored while all the snowbound areas are still without electric supply. The PDD officials have been asked to restore supply on warfooting. He said there was no dearth of food grains in those areas as enough winter-stocking has been ensured timely. Rana said road clearance work on the link roads has also been expedited.
A senior Traffic police official said that highway was closed after slippery road conditions caused by the snowfall in Jawhar Tunnel area and landslides in Ramban belt. He said around 3 to 4 feet snow had accumulated in Jawahar Tunnel area. The BRO this morning launched a massive snow clearance operation and by evening the snow clearance between Qazigund and Banihal was completed.
Around 100 Light Mortar Vehicles which were stranded in Banihal sector were cleared towards Srinagar. However, around 2000 trucks were stranded at Qazigund and Anantnag as the highway remained closed. He said with the improvement in the weather conditions, the highway is likely to be cleared by tomorrow.
Meanwhile, there was some improvement in day temperature across Jammu Kashmir. Srinagar recorded maximum of 5.0 degree Celsius and minimum of minus 0.5 degree Celsius, Gulmarg, the world famous ski resort, recorded maximum of 0.5 degree Celsius and maximum of minus 5.0 degree Celsius, Pahalgam maximum of 5.6 degree Celsius and minimum minus 0.8 deg C while Kupwara had a maximum of 4.9 degree Celsius and minimum of 0.2 degree Celsius.
Jammu recorded a maximum temperature of 15.3 degree Celsius and minimum of 9.6 degree C, Banihal maximum 3.6 deg C and minimum of 0.0 deg Celsius, Batote maximum 3.8 deg C and minimum of minus 2.8 degree, Katra maximum 10.5 degree C and minimum 7.7 degrees while famous tourist resort Bhaderwah recorded maximum of 4.0 and minimum of minus 0.5 deg C temperature.
Leh recorded maximum of 0.7 degree Celsius and minimum of minus 10.0 degree Celsius while Drass recorded maximum of minus 2.4 degree Celsius and minimum of minus 11.0 degree Celsius temperature today.