NH remains blocked

Excelsior Correspondent
JAMMU/ SRINAGAR, Feb 10: While Jammu-Srinagar National Highway continued to be blocked for the 5th consecutive day today, the Indian Air Force airlifted about 186 stranded passengers to Srinagar from Jammu.
As scores of link roads in Doda-Kishtwar and Bhaderwah area have been closed due to massive snowfall, the hapless villagers from far- flung snowbound areas have demanded airdropping of ration and other essential supplies. Several serious patients were airlifted by IAF choppers from Kishtwar area today to Jammu.
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The Kashmir valley is also facing crisis of essential commodities like gas, petrol, diesel, fresh vegetable, chicken, mutton. Besides this, a large numbers of people are stranded in Srinagar and Jammu despite additional flights being run between Srinagar-Delhi-Srinagar and Srinagar-Jammu-Srinagar.
IGP Traffic, J&K, Alok Kumar told the Excelsior that at around 2.30 pm today, the last landslides at Marog was cleared by the National Highway authorities and from Ramban side, the movement of oil and LPG tankers was allowed towards Kashmir. But hardly within 30 minutes, another major land slide struck the highway at Marog again, before these vehicles could arrive at this sliding zone. A major possible tragedy was averted. About 150-200 mt wider road stretch was extensibly damaged in the fresh landslide, he added.
Kumar said the machines were again pressed into service but clearance work was stalled after evening. Shooting stones continued to pose risk to the lives of the machines operators. Shooting stones at Panthyal, Anokhi fall and Battery Chashma continued. Tomorrow morning, the road clearance work would be resumed and Kashmir bound tankers and trucks loaded with supplies will be cleared first.
He said highway was cleared for one way traffic from Jawahar Tunnel and Banihal area on Saturday. Some light vehicles were also allowed to move towards Kashmir. Diversion tunnel is being used for emergency movement of vehicles but snow clearance work is still on at north portal of tunnel where huge snow has got accumulated after avalanche three days ago.
Deputy Commissioner Ramban, Showkat Aijaz said that the slides were cleared this afternoon especially from Panthial that is most troublesome spot but as soon as they allowed the tankers from the Banihal a massive slide blocked 200 meters of road at Marog. He said that massive clearance operation is going on and once the slide is cleared the Kashmir bound trucks with essential supplies and tankers will be allowed to proceed. He said around 300 people are stranded in Banihal and Ramban and administration is providing them all possible help.
Divisional Commissioner, Jammu, Sanjeev Verma said that today again the Indian Air Force airlifted 186 stranded passengers including 170 students appearing in GATE at Jammu. He said a score of stranded passengers were also brought from Srinagar by IAF men.
Verma said the Air Force launched special sortie of C17 Globemaster aircraft again today on the request of Administration and airlifted the passengers. On Saturday, also a sortie was carried from Srinagar to Jammu for GATE aspirants from Valley. He said some patients were also airlifted today from Kishtwar area to Jammu on the request of DC Kishtwar.
Verma further said that he has taken review of availability of essential commodities from various DCs and they have told him that they had sufficient winter stocks with them and no report of any shortage from any area like Doda, Ramban, Kishtwar was reported. He said power supply to many areas of Doda and Kishtwar could not be restored as several towers have been damaged and the NHPC men were on the job.
Meanwhile, a weatherman has forecast fresh spell of rain and snow during next week that can lead to further disruptions in air and surface traffic.
Director Meteorological Department, Sonam Lotus, said that there will fresh spell of rains and snow in the State during the coming week. “We are expecting another spell of rain in plains and snowfall over higher reaches of Jammu and Kashmir and parts of Ladakh region from February 13 to 15”, he said.
However, he said this spell will of less intensity as earlier one that led to heavy snowfall and rains in the State. He said the rain and fresh snowfall may commence on February 12 late night or February 13 early morning and its intensity may increase further. This will be followed by another spell around February 18 and 19, Lotus said.
This year, the onset of winter in Jammu and Kashmir was ahead of normal time as the region received very heavy snowfall in the first week of November. This was followed by frequent strong Western Disturbances in January and February which led to excess winter precipitation over the State.
Lotus said that most of the weather Models are showing frequent spells of WDs in whole February which means expect more precipitation in coming weeks.
Reports from Doda and Kishtwar districts said that people from many far- flung areas like Dessa, Marmat, Bhalessa, Gandoh, Chhatroo, Wadwan, Marwah, Dachhan, Paddar etc have demanded air-dropping of ration and other essential supplies in view of heavy snow and closure of scores of link roads. They said there is no hope of opening of these roads even in next 4-5 days, the Govt must ensure essential supplies to them. Entire area has been plunged into darkness and there was shortage of fuel as well.
Sarpanch, Diksha Thakur from Gai, in Dessa area of Doda has said that there was 5-6 feet snow in their area and many villages like Dewalkund, Traman, Bhata Laloor, Gai, Mallan, Shinkli and Manjmi in Dessa belt were facing shortage of ration, kerosene oil and other essentials. She said public movement has been restricted due to closure of roads and Govt must airdrop essentials to these places. Similar reports have been received from Wadwan, Marwah, Paddar and Bhalessa area.
A shop of Ramzan Mir at Hallaran and another one belonging to Talib Hussain at Nagni in Bhalessa area were collapsed today due to heavy snow. Property worth lakhs has been damaged.
Meanwhile, after heavy snowfall in district Kishtwar, authorities today airlifted critically ill patients and stranded passengers to and fro Jammu and Kishtwar.
Deputy Commissioner, Kishtwar Angrez Singh Rana was personally monitoring the operations. He said the District Administration instructed the authorities to airlift critically ill patients in far-flung snowbound areas including Marwah, Warwan, Dachhan and Machail on utmost priority.
Pertinent to mention here that one critically ill patient hailing from Machail and a lady patient from Dachhan were airlifted to District hospital Kishtwar for further Medical treatment besides one cancer patient was also airlifted to Marwah valley.