Valley continues to reel under sub-zero temp, 52 structures damaged

Wreckage of Bolero vehicle which was buried under landslides near Ramban on Sunday. — Excelsior/Parvaiz Mir
Wreckage of Bolero vehicle which was buried under landslides near Ramban on Sunday. — Excelsior/Parvaiz Mir

2 die as landslides hit Bolero in Ramban

Gopal Sharma
JAMMU/SRINAGAR, Jan 19: Kashmir continued to reel under sub-zero night temperature with a layer of frost developing on roads in the morning while two persons were killed when a Bolero vehicle was hit by landslides near Ramban, disrupting movement of vehicles for about an hour on busy Jammu-Srinagar National Highway this afternoon.
A senior police official said that there was movement of vehicles from Jammu to Kashmir side. The weather was clear and agencies engaged in 4-laning of the highway were on the job.

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Suddenly, landslides occurred near Kela Morh, about 6 kms away from Ramban towards Banihal and a Bolero vehicle bearing registration No. JK13C/6300 was buried under the debris at around 3.30 pm. Occupants of two other light motor vehicles including a Tempo Traveller passengers, had narrow escape in the mishap.
The movement of the vehicles came to halt and the two JCBs were rushed to the site for rescue operation. The Police and Traffic Police officials rushed to the site from Ramban. The vehicle had tuned into `wreckage’ as the boulders had pressed it badly. The vehicle driver and his relative had been trapped in the wreckage and were dragged out after hard efforts by police and BRO men.
They were later identified as Mohd Ayub Wani (42), son of Mohd Hayat, resident of Kadlbal (Pampore) in Pulwama district and his sister- in-law, Khalida (39), wife of Manzoor Ahmed Malla, resident of Budgam. They were coming from Jammu today. Ayub is said to be a driver with a private construction company.
Bodies of the deceased were shifted to District Hospital, Ramban and later handed over to the family members after performing legal formalities by police this evening. The movement of vehicles remained suspended on the highway for more than an hour.
The journey on the NH-44 has become treacherous as it takes around 24 hours to travel on the highway for the passengers and for truckers it takes sometimes weeks.
Javed Ahmad, a commuter said that it took them 22 hours to reach Srinagar from Jammu. “We started from Jammu at 5 am and reached Ramban by noon and it then took us 12 hours for just over 30 kilometers to Banihal. The traffic mess on the highway from Udhampur to Banihal caused due to lack of coordination between Traffic Police and local District Police and indiscipline on road is the main reason”, said a commuter.
Another commuter said that he has travelled on the NH-44 after two years but there is no improvement in the condition of the Highway between Ramban to Banihal. ” It took me same time Ramban-Banihal patch of the highway as it took me today. Nothing has changed in these two years”, he added.
A Traffic Police official said that the traffic on the NH-44 will ply from Jammu to Srinagar tomorrow and no vehicle will be allowed to move from Srinagar to Jammu. He said light motor vehicles will have to cross Udhampur till 12 noon after which the trucks will be allowed to ply. He appealed the commuters not to start their journey from the either side of the road before knowing status of the highway from nearest Traffic Control Units (TCUs).
Official sources said that at least 52 structures were damaged in Tangmarg area of North Kashmir’s Baramulla district due to heavy snowfall early this week. He said 35 houses and 17 cowsheds/ shops were damaged in Qazipora, Hajibal, Vahnderbug and Nagarpora areas of Tangmarg. Tehsildar of the area today visited these villages and assured the people that his staff will assess the loses and work out compensation.
Meanwhile, Valley witnessed a sunny day today bringing some relief to the residents, a MeT official said.
He added the night temperature continued to remain below the freezing point across Kashmir Valley and Ladakh Union Territory.
Official said that freezing temperatures led to development of a layer of frost on roads which caused inconvenience to the people, especially motorists.
Srinagar recorded the minimum temperature of minus 2.8 degrees Celsius, over a degree down from Saturday’s minus 1.4 degrees Celsius, the official said.
He said the mercury in Qazigund, in south Kashmir decreased nearly four degrees from yesterday’s low of minus 1.4 deg Celsius to settle at the low of minus 5.1 degrees Celsius.
Pahalgam tourist resort of Kashmir recorded a low of minus 13.7 degrees Celsius – down from minus 6.8 degrees Celsius yesterday, the official said, adding the resort was the coldest recorded place in the Kashmir valley.
The ski-resort of Gulmarg in north Kashmir registered a minimum of minus 13.4 degrees Celsius, down from minus 11 degrees Celsius, he said.
Leh in the Ladakh Union Territory recorded a low of minus 16.3 degrees Celsius, down from minus 13.0 degrees Celsius the previous night, he said.
The MeT office has forecast light to moderate rain or snow in the Kashmir over the next two days and light rain in parts of Jammu region.
Meanwhile, seven flights were delayed at Jammu airport today due to fog and bad weather but all the flights remained operational. Chopper service at Mata Vaishnodevi from base camp of Katra also remained operational as weather was clear today.