Ladakh NH remains closed for 2nd day; SRTC buses, trucks plying on Kashmir highway

SRINAGAR, May 5 (Agencies): Traffic on the 434-km-long Srinagar-Leh national highway, connecting Ladakh with Kashmir valley, remained closed since Monday evening due to snow avalanche and landslides.

Meanwhile, essential service traffic and SRTC buses, ferrying stranded Kashmiris, who are returning from different parts of the country amid COVID-19 lockdown, were plying from Jammu to Srinagar on 270-km-long national highway.

 “Srinagar-Leh national highway remained closed for traffic since Monday evening due to snow avalanche and landslides,” a traffic police official said.

Essential service traffic was restored on Srinagar-Leh national highway on Monday morning after remaining suspended for three days due to landslides at various places. However, traffic on the highway was again suspended due to landslides between Gumri and Minimarg, besides snow avalanche in Drass.

He said a conductor was killed and a driver was injured after their truck was hit by a snow avalanche in Drass on Monday evening

He said BEACON project of Border Road Organization (BRO), responsible for maintenance of the highway, has pressed into service sophisticated machines and man to clear the landslides. “After getting green signal from police and BRO officials deployed on the ground, traffic would be allowed on the highway.” .

The Leh highway reopened on April 11 after remaining closed for the past about five months due to accumulation of snow and slippery road conditions. However, only vehicles carrying essentials, including petrol, diesel and LPG cylinders, were allowed to ply on the highway.

He said no passenger vehicles will be allowed on the highway, where health checkup for truckers and their helpers — while going to Ladakh and the way back — has been made mandatory to curtail spread of Coronavirus.

“Only a driver and a helper would be allowed with a truck, carrying essential commodities to the Union Territory of Ladakh,” he added.

Meanwhile, essential service traffic and SRTC buses, ferrying stranded passengers who were returning from different parts of the country, were plying on Srinagar-Jammu National Highway. “From last couple of days, SRTC buses, ferrying stranded Kashmiris who have returned from different parts of the country to the UT, were allowed on the highway,” he added.

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