NH still blocked, restoration work goes on at war footing

Road restoration work going on in full swing at Chamba-Seri Ramban on Jammu-Srinagar National Highway on Monday. — Excelsior/Parvaiz Mir
Road restoration work going on in full swing at Chamba-Seri Ramban on Jammu-Srinagar National Highway on Monday. — Excelsior/Parvaiz Mir

Traffic diverted to Mughal Road

Gopal Sharma
JAMMU, July 10: While Jammu-Srinagar National Highway remained closed for the third consecutive day due to washing away of road by river Chenab near Ramban, the authorities diverted traffic to Mughal Road today.
Official sources said that restoration work was going on at war-footing near Chamba- Seri in Ramban where about 80 meters road stretch has been washed away.
The highway was closed for vehicular traffic on Saturday following incessant rains that triggered multiple landslides and also severely damaged a portion of the road near Panthyal Tunnel and Chamba-Seri, Dalwas and Mehar in Ramban district, leaving thousands of vehicles stranded.
“Barring the Chamba-Seri stretch where about 70-80 metre portion of road was washed away, the highway is almost clear of all hurdles and is traffic-worthy,” a Traffic department official said.
He said the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) is working round-the-clock at Chamba-Seri and is working on an alternate alignment to ensure early restoration of the road.
“The restoration work will take some time. The stranded vehicles will be cleared on priority once the road is made motorable,” the official said.
However, no fresh traffic will be allowed either from Jammu or Srinagar till the clearance of the stranded vehicles, he added.
A police spokesman advised people to avoid travelling on the highway till the time confirmation is issued by the administration.
He said drivers of heavy motor vehicles are advised to take Mughal Road for the journey from Jammu to Srinagar and vice-versa.
“The administration is making its best possible efforts to ensure the restoration of traffic on the National Highway at the earliest,” he added.
A Traffic police official said that the Mughal Road — an alternate link connecting the twin border districts of Poonch and Rajouri in Jammu with the south Kashmir Shopian district — was through for both-way traffic.
Mughal Road was also hit by several landslides on Saturday and Sunday following heavy rains but the road was cleared by the concerned agencies, providing relief to the commuters.
The traffic was moving smoothly on Mughal Road but there were reports of long traffic jams at some places.
Meanwhile, Batote-Kishtwar road was also restored today but Reasi-Mahore road was blocked after landslides near Dharmari today. Gandoh-Gawari road was still blocked due to land and mudslides yesterday.
Meanwhile, after week-long freak weather which brought Kashmir on the brink of floods, weatherman today forecast mainly dry weather for the Valley.
“Mainly dry weather is expected but a brief spell of rain may occur at isolated places in Kashmir region towards late afternoon/evening,” a Meteorological department official said.
“As regards the forecast from July 11-14, mainly dry weather is expected. However, brief spell of rain and thunderstorm at isolated places can’t be ruled out (70% chance). Intermittent light to moderate rain has been predicted at many places of J&K with chances upto 70% from July 15-24,” he said.
Srinagar recorded a low of 17.2°C against 14.9°C the previous night and it was 0.9°C below normal for the city.
Qazigund recorded a low of 14.5°C against 14.0°C the previous night and it was 2.0°C below normal for the town.
Pahalgam recorded a low of 10.3°C against 9.6°C the previous night and it was below normal by 1.7°C for the tourist resort.
In Kupwara town, the mercury settled at 15.2°C against 14.8°C the previous night and it was below normal by 1.4°C for the town.
Kokernag recorded a low of 14.2°C against 13.1°C the previous night and it was 1.7°C below normal for the place.
Gulmarg recorded a low of 9.0°C against 8.5°C previous night and it was 2.8°C below normal for the skiing resort.