Srinagar: The 270-km-long Srinagar-Jammu national highway, the only all weather road connecting Kashmir valley with the rest of the country, remained closed for the fifth day on Thursday due to accumulation of snow, land and mudslides and shooting stones.
The historic 86-km-long Mughal road, which was being used as alternative to Srinagar-Jammu national highway in summer, also remained closed for the past over three weeks due to heavy to very heavy snowfall. There is no chance to reopen the road before next summer.
Meanwhile, the government has already announced the closure of the national highway, the only road linking Union Territory (UT) of Ladakh with Kashmir valley, for winter months due to accumulation of eight to ten feet of snow since January 1.
The highway was closed on Sunday following fresh snowfall on both sides of the Jawahar tunnel, Shaitan Nallah and Banihal. However, next three days witnessed heavy to very heavy snowfall and landslides, mudslides and shooting stones.
A traffic police official said that the highway is still closed due to landslides and mudslides besides shooting stones triggered by rain at Samroli, Nashree, Cafteria Morh, Seri, Marog and accumulation of snow on both sides of the tunnel.
He said the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) and Border Roads Organisation (BRO) have already put into service sophisticated machines to put through the highway. He said a group of commuters had a narrow escape when their car came under a huge mudslide. Locals and officials immediately launched a rescue operation and rescued them safely alongwith their vehicle.
Meanwhile, several thousand vehicles are stranded on the highway for the past five days. Once the highway is put through, only stranded vehicles will be allowed to move towards their respective destinations, officials said.
The driver and conductors alleged that they are stranded at some places where there is no water or urinal or any other facility. ‘We have been staying in our vehicles in sub zero temperature, they said alleged the administration has totally failed to provide them any assistance. We are without food and water as whatever food they had has been consumed’, they said.
Traffic police official told UNI today that no vehicular movement shall be allowed on Srinagar-Jammu national highway in view of the accumulation of snow around the tunnel and landslides, mudslides and shooting stone between Ramban and Ramsu.