Srinagar-Jammu Highway reopens, stranded vehicles allowed to move

SRINAGAR: Traffic was restored on Saturday afternoon after remaining suspended due to landslides and shooting stones since Thursday on the 270-km-long Srinagar-Jammu national highway, the only all-weather road connecting Kashmir valley with the rest of the country.

Meanwhile, the 86-km-long Mughal road, seen as an alternative to Srinagar-Jammu highway, and highway, linking Ladakh Union Territory (UT) with Kashmir were through for one-way traffic.

We have allowed traffic on the Srinagar-Jammu highway and vehicles, stranded since Thursday have been allowed to move towards their respective destinations, a traffic police official said this afternoon.

He said the highway was closed for traffic movement on Thursday afternoon due to landslides and shooting stones, triggered by rain at several places between Banihal and Ramban.

However, the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) and Border Roads Organisation (BRO) put into service sophisticated machines to clear the landslides and open the highway. But continued landslides and shooting stones were hampering the road clearance operation.

Since last night the weather has improved and shooting stone has stopped, he said adding landslide clearance operation has been intensified.

He said Kashmir bound essential commodity vehicles which had left Jammu Thursday morning were stopped at several places, particularly in Udhampur. Similarly, some vehicles from this side, particularly private and passenger vehicles, having valid travel permit, have been stopped on this side of the Ramban.

The road is now through after landslides and shooting stones were cleared, he said adding stranded vehicles are moving towards their respective destinations. Fresh vehicles from Kashmir to Jammu will be allowed once the stranded vehicles are cleared, he said.

Meanwhile, stranded passengers and truckers had alleged that they could not get any food due to closure of all hotels and other restaurants since March due to COVID-19 pandemic. Elderly persons, women and children were the worst hit, passengers said adding in some cases truck drivers provided some food.

He said Mughal road, connecting Shopian in south Kashmir with Rajouri and Poonch in Jammu region was through despite rain. However, only vehicles, carrying fresh fruit, will be allowed to ply from Shopian to Jammu between 1100 hrs 1600 hrs and on the vehicle will be allowed after the deadline.

Vehicles carrying essentials will also ply on Srinagar- Sonamarg in central Kashmir district of Ganderbal to Gumari on other side of the Zojila pass on the highway connecting Ladakh with Kashmir. (agencies)

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