Traffic suspended on Kashmir highway, Leh and Mughal road remain closed

Srinagar, Dec 17: Traffic on the 300-km-long Srinagar-Jammu national highway was suspended on Monday following a fresh landslides in Ramban while historic Mughal road and national highway, connecting Ladakh with Kashmir remained closed for the past eight days.

“We have suspended traffic on Monday on the national highway, the only all weather road linking the Kashmir valley with the rest of the country”, a traffic police official told reporter.

He said there was a fresh landslides at Gangroo, Ramban, on the highway early Monday morning. The Border Roads Organisation (BRO), responsible for the maintenance of the highway, has already put into service sophisticated machines and men to clear the landslides, he said adding it will take some time to put through the traffic.

However, he said, only one-way traffic will continue to ply on the highway to avoid any road accident and traffic jam as the road widening was under progress at several places.

He said on Monday, traffic will ply from Jammu to Srinagar and no vehicle, including security force convoy, would be allowed from opposite direction.

There were several feet of snow accumulated on the 86-km-long Mughal road, connecting Shopian in south Kashmir with Rajouri and Poonch in Jammu region, at several places, including Pir-ki-Gali.

“The snow has frozen due to which the road, which is seen as an alternative to Srinagar-Jammu National Highway, has become very slippery,” he said adding the district administrations from both sides of Gali are making arrangements to clear the snow. However, there is very remote chance of resumption of traffic on the road which remains closed for six winter months due to heavy snowfall and threat of avalanches.

He said traffic also remained suspended on Srinagar-Leh highway following snowfall due to which the road has become slippery. A large number of Kashmir vehicles, including empty trucks and oil tankers besides carrying passengers, are stranded at Drass, Kargil and other places on other side of the Zojila pass. Similarly, some vehicles are also stopped on this side of the pass in the central Kashmir district of Ganderbal.

There is very less chance of resumption of traffic on the highway following accumulation of snow due to below freezing temperature, making snow clearance operation difficult, official sources said, adding that there is also threat of avalanches.

The Beacon authorities will start snow clearance operation only when weather improves and there is no threat of avalanches, official sources said, adding that the highway will be declared closed for winter if there is no improvement.

The Ladakh region remains cut off during six winter months due to heavy snowfall and snow avalanches. The Government of India (GoI) and state government have already announced to construct a tunnel at Zojila to make it an all weather road. UNI

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