NH restored amid disruptions in Ramban, snow clearance work goes at snail’s pace

An elderly man standing on the wreckage after his house collapsed due to landslide in Mahore area of Reasi on Monday. — Excelsior/Romesh Mengi
An elderly man standing on the wreckage after his house collapsed due to landslide in Mahore area of Reasi on Monday. — Excelsior/Romesh Mengi

2 houses collapse in snow-clad Mahore, Bani areas
Weather improves in Valley

Gopal Sharma

JAMMU, Jan 24: While two Kucha houses were damaged in snowbound Bani and Mahore areas of Jammu region today, the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway was restored this afternoon after the road construction agencies pulled out a rice-loaded truck that was stuck in mud near Panthyal in Ramban district whereas, fresh snowfall continued in many mountainous areas across J&K on the third consecutive day today.
Senior Superintendent of Police, Traffic (NH), Shabir Malik said that the over loaded truck, stuck in the mud at Panthyal for the last more than 30 hours bound for Srinagar was dragged out. The debris at the land sliding zones were also cleared and the Jammu-Srinagar highway was restored at around 1.30 pm today. He said about 130 Heavy Motor Vehicles and about a dozen oil/ fuel tankers besides dozens of Light Motor Vehicles, which were stranded on the highway, were allowed to move towards their destination. Some stranded vehicles carrying vegetables and other essentials were also allowed to move towards Kashmir. The road was still single at many places besides Panthyal and Seri. However, no fresh vehicle was either allowed from Jammu or Srinagar side today.
Malik said the highway was again blocked at around 6 pm after fresh landslide at Seri near Ramban. The traffic on both the sides remained stranded for about three hours. The highway was again restored at 9 pm tonight and the movement of heavy vehicles was allowed, he added.
The traffic on the highway, was suspended on Sunday following multiple landslides and shooting of stones from hillocks between Chanderkote and Ramsu and snowfall in Banihal sector. While the road clearance agencies pressed its men and machines and cleared the highway of the obstacles, a truck loaded with rice got deeply embedded in the mud at Panthyal and could not be moved.
The operation was called off late Sunday evening and was resumed this morning with Fire and Emergency Service joining the effort which proved fruitful and the truck was pulled out around 1 pm. The normal traffic is being restored on NH tomorrow morning.
Officials said that helicopter service to Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine atop Trikuta hills in Reasi district was resumed this morning after remaining suspended for the past two days. But it was again suspended during noon due to bad weather. The battery car operation has been suspended at the Shrine after snowfall and landslides on the track for the last three days. New route is lying closed while on foot Yatra to Bhawan is allowed along old track from Katra base camp.
A Met Department official said Katra, the base camp for the pilgrims visiting Vaishno Devi shrine, recorded the highest 24.7 mm of rainfall during the past 24 hours till 8.30 am. Bhaderwah town of Doda district in Jammu region recorded 7-8 cm snowfall during the same period, while Jammu city recorded a rainfall of 1.6 mm.
He said the minimum temperature recorded in Jammu was 7.6 degrees Celsius, Katra 6 degrees Celsius, Bhaderwah 0.2 degrees Celsius and Banihal zero degrees Celsius today.
Reports from Bani in Kathua said that upper portion house of one Sham Lal, son of Amar Singh, resident of Guttu Morha in Dolka Panchayat of Bani Sun Division collapsed due to heavy snowfall today. There was more than 3.5 ft snow in the area and new constructed upper portion of the tin house could not bear the load and collapsed. However, no loss of human life was reported.
Today the police party and Revenue officials from Bani visited the affected family and took stock of the situation. The family has been shifted to nearby safe house. The power supply to Bani town was restored this afternoon after two days due to failure of 33 KV line but other areas including Loang, Taggar, Duggan etc were still without power supply.
Another report from Reasi said that Kucha house of one Mohd Amin, son of Gazia was collapsed at Bana village in snow bound remote Chasana area of Mahore Sub Division today. SDPO Mahore deputed SHO Chassana Sumit Mahajan and I/C PP Tulli to the area. There was land slide followed by falling of snow on the house from the nearby hillock. No loss of human life was reported but many household items of the family were buried under the debris. The family was later shifted to the safer place. Some cattle were said to have been killed and injured in the incident.
Reports from Doda, Bhaderwah, Kishtwar, Ramban, Banihal, Gool, Dudu-Basantgarh, Mahore Sub Divisions and Poonch said that several link roads were still blocked for the last couple of days due to snowfall and snow clearance work on these roads was going on at snail’s pace. The power supply to many remote and snow bound villages of these belts, was still snapped despite tall claims of the senior PDD officials.
Meanwhile, the hills of Kashmir today received fresh snowfall while weather improved in the Valley with sun coming out some respite to the people from cold weather conditions.
The weatherman has forecast improvement in the weather from today till January 29. “There is possibility of isolated very light rain/snow over Jammu and Kashmir in next 24 hours,” the official said, adding, “The weather will be mainly dry weather (till January 29)”.
The night temperature recorded a fall in Kashmir Valley except few places including Srinagar. The mercury at Gulmarg settled at minus 9.5 degree Celsius.
Srinagar recorded a low of 2.8 degree Celsius against last night’s 0.4 degree Celsius.
Gulmarg had about 5 inches of fresh snowfall during the time and recorded a low of minus 9.5 degree Celsius against minus 6.0 degree Celsius  the previous night. The temperature was 2.2 degree Celsius above normal for this time of the year.
Qazigund  recorded a low of 0.2 degree Celsius against 0.0 degree Celsius the previous night.
Kokernag recorded a low of minus 0.5 degree Celsius against minus 0.7 degree Celsius the previous night.
Pahalgam had 4 inches of fresh snowfall and recorded a low of minus 0.8 degree Celsius against minus 1.2 degree Celsius last night.
Kupwara recorded a low of 0.2 degree Celsius against 1.2 degree Celsius the previous night.
Leh recorded a low of minus 11.9 degree Celsius against last night’s minus 9.0 degree Celsius while mercury at Kargil settled at minus 9.6 degree Celsius. Drass recorded a low of minus 8.4 degree Celsius against last night’s minus 10.8 degree Celsius.
Kashmir is presently under the grip of 40-day long harshest period of winter, known locally as ‘Chillai Kalan, which started from December 21. It is followed by a 20-day long ‘Chillai Khurd’ and a 10-day-long ‘Chillai Bachha’.