Srinagar-Jammu highway remain shut for 4th day due to landslides

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SRINAGAR : The 270-km-long Srinagar-Jammu national highway, the only all-weather road linking Kashmir valley with the rest of the country, remained closed for the fourth consecutive day on Friday due to landslides and shooting stones, triggered by heavy rains, at over a dozen places.
Several thousand vehicles, including those, carry perishable and other essentials items besides passengers, are stranded on the highway, where there is no facility of water, food and bathrooms and shelter shed.
The highway remained closed due to continued landslides and shooting stones, triggered by heavy rains during the past 24 hours, a traffic police official said today.
He said over a dozen places, including Dalwas, Mehar, Trishul Morh, Cafeteria Morh, Ironstand Digdol, Panthyal, Monkey Morh, Mompassi, Battery Cheshma and other places between Nashree and Banihal, are worst affected due to landslides and shooting stone.
Due to continued rain triggering fresh landslides and shooting stones, road clearance operation was being hampered, he said adding at some places no clearance operation could be started due to continued shooting stones. He said clearance operation will be taken up at war footing once the shooting stones stop. He said the men and machinery of National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) and Border Roads Organisation (BRO) are ready to start the operation once the landslides stop.
Several thousand vehicles, mostly oil tankers and trucks with essentials for Kashmir valley, are stranded on the highway for the five days. Most of these vehicles had been stopped at Udhampur, Chenani and other areas in Jammu region on the highway.
However, truckers alleged that there is no arrangement of water, bathroom and food since all hotels and restaurants are closed due to COVID-19 restrictions. We are carrying some perishable items which could get completely damaged if there is more delay, the driver said adding they have to answer to their traders for the loss. Eggs, chickens and fruits are getting rotten due to delay, they said.
Similarly, trucks loaded with fresh fruit also remained stranded for the past several days at Qazigund and other places on this side of the Jawahar tunnel. There is no facility and we have to bring water from villages for cooking our meals, the driver said adding there is no facility from the government. There are hundreds of Jammu bound empty trucks and oil tankers stranded on the highway.
The traffic police official further said no vehicle will be allowed to move on Friday when repair work of the road will be taken up. However, he said once a green signal is received to restore traffic on the highway, only stranded vehicles will be allowed to move towards their respective destinations before allowing any fresh traffic.

Passenger traffic remained suspended on the highway since March 5 due to COVID-19. Passengers having valid travel permit issued by Divisional Commissioners of Jammu and Kashmir were being allowed to move. However, thousands of outside workers were brought to Kashmir valley in recent months.
This is the second time the highway was closed for any traffic movement due to landslides and shooting stones during the past about one week. Earlier, traffic was resumed on the highway August 22 after remaining suspended for two days.
(agencies)

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