Day 3: Over 10,000 passengers stuck on highway

Jammu, Jan 3: At least 10,000 passengers, including women, children and elderly persons, besides truckers were stranded for the third consecutive day on Friday on the Srinagar-Jammu highway.

The highway is closed for the past three days due to recurring landslides and shooting stones at Digdol, a traffic police official said.

Due to the closure of the highway, over 6,500 vehicles were stranded at various places between Jammu to Banihal and other side of the Jawahar tunnel towards Kashmir.

The vehicles were stranded at Jammu, Samba, Udhampur and Ramban districts, the official said.

Landslides took place at Karol in Chanderkote near Jaiswal bridge and Digdol during the last two days.

 “We will try to clear the stranded vehicles by tomorrow (Saturday). Men and machines are working to clear the landslides at some places in Ramban,” a traffic police official told The Kashmir Monitor. 

He said once the landslide clearance operation is over, only stranded vehicles will be allowed to move towards their respective destinations. “No fresh vehicle will be allowed from Srinagar and Jammu,” he added.

The passengers, including women, children and elderly persons and truckers, are stranded, mostly between Qazigund to Jawahar tunnel. These vehicles had left Srinagar for Jammu on Wednesday but got stranded after landslides at Digdol, where a portion of hill has collapsed.

Drivers and passengers, stranded on this side of the Jawahar tunnel, alleged that there is no sufficient arrangement for their stay or food in these areas. Hotels are flooded with passengers, they said, adding the prices of a cup of tea or a plate of rice and other eatables has suddenly increased without any check by the local administration.

Wet weekend predicted

Monitor News Bureau

Srinagar, Jan 3: The minimum temperature in most parts of Kashmir dropped on Friday, even as the MET Office here has forecast spells of wet weather over the weekend.

The minimum temperature decreased at most places in the valley as well as in Ladakh Union Territory on Friday, an official of the Meteorological department here said.

He said Srinagar city recorded the low of minus 3.7 degrees Celsius last night – nearly a degree down from minus 2.8 degrees Celsius the previous night.

The official said the ski-resort of Gulmarg in north Kashmir recorded the low of minus 8.5 degrees Celsius last night as against the previous night’s minus 8.6 degrees Celsius.

The night temperature at Pahalgam resort settled at a low of minus 10 degrees Celsius – over three degrees down from minus 6.4 degrees Celsius from Thursday, he said.

Pahalgam, in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district, was the coldest recorded place in the valley, he added.

The official said Qazigund – the gateway town to the valley – in south Kashmir recorded a low of minus 7 degrees Celsius – down from the previous night’s minus 4.3 degrees Celsius.

Kokernag town, also in south, recorded a low of minus 4.8 degrees Celsius, while Kupwara, in north, registered the minimum of minus 2.3 degrees Celsius, the official said.

The mercury in Leh, in the Ladakh Union territory, settled at a low of minus 20.7 degrees Celsius, while the nearby Drass recorded a low of minus 26.3 degrees Celsius, the official said.

Kashmir is currently under the grip of ”Chillai-Kalan” – the 40-day harshest period of winter when the chances of snowfall are most frequent and maximum and the temperature drops considerably.

”Chillai-Kalan” began on December 21 and ends on January 31, but the cold wave continues even after that in Kashmir. The 40-day period is followed by a 20-day long ”Chillai-Khurd” (small cold) and a 10-day long ”Chillai-Bachha” (baby cold).

The MET Office has forecast a spell of scattered to fairly widespread light rain or snowfall in the Union territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh from Friday.

The official said the wet weather could likely cause landslide on the Banihal-Ramban axis of the Srinagar-Jammu National Highway –leading to temporary disruption of surface transportation.

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About the Author

Mubashir joined The Kashmir Monitor as a reporter/ sub-editor in Jan 2013. Since then, he has been consistently covering beats including conflict, politics, education, and health. He is also handling online section of the paper besides working as Video Producer.

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