Jammu, Mar 14:
The 270-km Jammu-Srinagar National Highway remained closed for the third
consecutive day on Saturday as multiple landslides overnight hampered the
restoration work, officials said.
The highway, the only all-weather road linking Kashmir with
the rest of the country, was closed for traffic on Thursday after heavy rains
triggered landslides, leaving more than 3,000 Srinagar-bound vehicles stranded.
“The road clearance operation is underway at over a
dozen places along the Ramban-Ramsu stretch of the highway. A major landslide
had occurred overnight between Monkey Morh and Battery Cheshma and will take at
least six more hours to get cleared,” Deputy Superintendent of Police,
Traffic (National Highway), Ajay Anand told PTI.
He said the road stretch between Nashri and Ramban was
cleared of the mudslide, while the snow clearance operation across the Jawahar
Tunnel, the gateway to Kashmir, was also completed.
“Multiple landslides also occurred overnight between
Ramban and Banihal, including Panthiyal, Digdole, Moumpassi, Sher Bibi and
Gangroo,” Anand said.
He said with the improvement in the overall weather, the
clearance operation was stepped up and the highway is likely to be reopened for
stranded vehicles later in the day.
Meanwhile, the stranded commuters rued the slow pace of road
clearance operation and basic facilities at the halting stations along the
“There is shortage of earth-movers, delaying the
restoration work on the highway. We are only watching one JCB working for over
six hours from 11 am,” Faisal Mir, a resident of Srinagar, told PTI over
phone from Ramban.
Mir along with his mother and sister reached Ramban on
Thursday and spent the night in the vehicle before shifting to a hotel room the
“We were given a green signal for travel in Jammu and
only got stranded in Ramban on way to Srinagar. We faced a lot of problems due
to non-availability of rooms in the hotels. There was no arrangement from the
administration for the stranded passengers,” he alleged.
Mir said the government opened a higher secondary school for
the stranded passengers on Friday night, while some people found accommodation
in the local mosques.
“The weather is cold and you did not only need a roof
over your head this time around. There was a lack of basic facilities and the
government should take note of it,” he said.
Mir appealed to the administration to press more machinery
to make the road trafficable as early as possible.