Over 1800 trucks, tankers stranded on highway

Restoration work on the National Highway at Monkey Morh in Ramban on Tuesday. -Excelsior/Parvaiz Mir
Restoration work on the National Highway at Monkey Morh in Ramban on Tuesday. -Excelsior/Parvaiz Mir

Kashmir faces shortage of essentials

Gopal Sharma
JAMMU, Mar 31: Entire Kashmir valley has been experiencing shortage of essential commodities including fuel as the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway remained closed for fifth consecutive day today due to massive landslides and sinking of major portion of the road at Dalwas in Ramban area while heavy rain has lashed many parts of J&K, recording a sharp fall in temperature.
Reports receiving from various areas said that over 1800 trucks and tankers loaded with essential goods including LPG and fuel have been stranded in Nashri, Chenani, Kud, Udhampur, Dhar Road and Nagrota Bypass area of Jammu since March 27. Some SRTC buses carrying stranded passengers from Jammu to Kashmir valley are also struck on the highway. There is intense pressure on the NHAI and allied agencies connected with highway work, to restore the link and press the supplies to Kashmir.
Official sources said that Chief Secretary, BVR Subrahmanyam convened an emergency meeting at Civil Secretariat here this evening to know the status of highway clearance and progress achieved so far. Project Director NHAI, Ramban Sector P. Phonsa, Regional Officer NHAI Hem Raj, IG Traffic P Namgyal and several other officers also attended. The Chief Secretary directed the officers to restore the temporary link by tomorrow at Dalwas so that all the stranded vehicles with supplies could be pushed towards Valley.

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SSP Traffic, National Highway, J S Johar when contacted said that National Highway Authorities have launched massive restoration work at Dalwas near Chanderkote, where nearly 500 meters of road stretch has sunk. At least six machines have been engaged at the site for restoration work. They have assured us to get a temporary link restored for clearing the goods loaded with essential supplies to Kashmir by tomorrow evening, he said.
“But unfortunately the rain has started in Ramban and Banihal belt and the Meteorological department has predicted heavy rain for the next two days. So, the rain will definitely hamper this restoration work. The landslides at Monkey Morh was also cleared this evening and another small slide near Cafeteria Morh in Ramban was removed but Dalwas slide has become a major headache for the National Highway authorities and the general public which is suffering for the last five days. The rain may hamper the restoration work for the next couple of days,” Johar said.
Project Director NHAI, Parshotam Phonsa when contacted said that 10 excavators, one dozer and two loaders have been pressed into restoration work at Dalwas landsliding zone since yesterday morning. He said a day’swork was delayed on Sunday as protesting people whose houses were damaged in sinking of mountain held demonstration and sat on dharna there. “The day- night work is being carried out there. And if the weather remains favourable, by tomorrow evening temporary link would be restored. But we fear that the rain may spoil the work done by the machines. The rain has already started in Ramban sector but the machines are yet on the job,” the Project Director added.
Meanwhile, heavy rain lashed Poonch, Rajouri, Banihal, Ramban, Doda, Kishtwar and parts of Kashmir, Udhampur, Reasi, Jammu and Kathua. High altitude areas of Poonch , Doda and Kishtwar are also experiencing fresh snowfall. With this, a sharp fall in temperature has been experienced in the entire region this evening.
A MeT spokesman has predicted heavy rain in most parts of the region during next 48 hours. He said the weather may improve from Thursday afternoon. Some parts of the region also witnessed hailstorm, which caused damage to the crops.