Srinagar-Jammu highway closed, hundreds of vehicles stranded

SRINAGAR, Mar 13 (Agencies): Hundreds of vehicles remained stranded for the second day on Friday following closure of the 270-km-long Srinagar-Jammu National Highway due to landslides and shooting stones.
The highway was closed on Thursday morning following landslides due to rainfall at several places, particularly between Ramban and Ramsu, official sources said.
However, the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI), responsible for the widening and maintenance of the highway have put sophisticated machines and men to clear the landslides but continued shooting stones at Mahar and Digdol due to rain has hampered the clearance operation.
There was also fresh snowfall early this morning in the area. Hundreds of vehicles were stranded on the highway, sources said adding once a green signal was received, only stranded vehicles would be allowed on the Highway, the only all weather road connecting Kashmir valley with the rest the country.
Decision to allow fresh traffic would be allowed once all stranded vehicles were cleared. They further said only one-way traffic would continue to ply on the highway till further orders as the road was badly damaged and narrow at some places and there is also threat of landslides and shooting stones.
The sources stated that frequent closure of the highway has badly hit traffic movement leading to shortage of essentials in the valley.
Transportation of fruit from valley to other parts of the country was also affected, particularly during winter. Meanwhile, the historic 86-km-long Mughal road, which connects Shopian in south Kashmir with Rajouri and Poonch also remained closed due to accumulation of the eight to ten feet of snow.
Though the authorities have started snow clearance operation, there was fresh snowfall during the past few days on the road, which was seen as alternative to Srinagar-Jammu Highway.
The Centre has already agreed to construct a tunnel to make it all weather road. The Anantnag-Kishtwar road also remained closed for the past four months due to snow.

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