Kashmir: Srinagar-Leh, Mughal roads remain shut for 7th consecutive day

Srinagar: The 434-km-long Srinagar-Leh and historic Mughal road remained closed for the 7th day due to the accumulation of snow and slippery road conditions on Thursday.

A report from border district of Kargil in Ladakh region said massive protests were held there by stranded passengers against the authorities for failing to reopen the Srinagar-Leh national highway, closed for the for seven days.

Contesting the claim of authorities that Kashmir bound stranded passengers were being provided all facilities at Kargil and Drass, the protesting people alleged that they have now no money to stay in hotels.

Authorities said snow clearance operation was going on from both Sonamarg and Meenmarg to put through the highway, the only road linking Ladakh region with Kashmir. The road has become slippery as snow has also frozen at several places, including Zojilla pass, due to below freezing temperature.

The Border Roads Organisation (BRO) has already pressed into service sophisticated machines and men on the job to put through the highway. 

However, it will take some more time and traffic will be resumed only after weather and road condition improves since there is also the threat of avalanches, he said. A large number of Ladakh bound vehicles, particularly trucks carrying essential commodities and oil tankers, are stranded at Sonamarg in central Kashmir district of Ganderbal since Thursday last.

Similarly, Kashmir bound empty trucks and oil tankers are stranded at several places, including Drass, Kargil and Meenmarg on other side of the Zojila. No traffic will be allowed on the highway until a green signal is received from traffic police officials posted at different places and BRO since there is now threat of avalanches also, he said.

Traffic remained suspended on the Mughal road, linking Shopian in south Kashmir with Rajouri and Poonch in Jammu region though snow clearance operation was going on war footing from both sides. 

However, due to below freezing temperature particularly during the night, snow had frozen due to which the road has become slippery particularly at Pir-ki-Gali. The district administration of Rajouri and Poonch and Shopian are working to put through the road which remained closed during winter months due to heavy snowfall. 

The Government of India has already announced to construct a tunnel to make it all weather road, which is also seen as alternative to Srinagar-Jammu National Highway.

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