Kashmir highway partially reopens, stranded vehicles allowed to move

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Srinagar, Dec 13 (UNI) The 300-km-long Srinagar-Jammu national highway was partially reopened this afternoon and stranded vehicles were allowed to move towards Kashmir.

Inspector General of Police (Traffic) Mohammad Amin Shah told UNI that traffic was allowed on the highway this afternoon after the snow was cleared.

Mr Shah said only vehicles, stranded on the highway since December 11 afternoon, were allowed to move towards the Kashmir valley.

Majority of these vehicles carry essential commodities for the valley, he said, adding that no vehicle would be allowed from Sriangar to Jammu today.

Mr Shah said decision about allowing traffic tomorrow would be taken in the morning after receiving reports from officials deployed at different places on the highway.

It was snowing between Qazigund to Banihal in the morning on the highway, the only road linking the Kashmir valley with the rest of the country, official sources said.

However, Border Roads Organisation (BRO), responsible for the maintenance of the highway, pressed into service hundreds of workers and machines to clear the snow from the highway.

About three feet of snow had accumulated near the Jawahar tunnel, the highest point on the highway, about 90 km from here, they said.

At Qazigund, about 2.5 feet of snowfall was recorded till this morning with snowfall continuing, a report from south Kashmir said.

The highway was declared unsafe for journey on December 11 after the road become slippery due to snowfall.

The sources said more than 2000 vehicles, majority of them trucks were stranded between Banihal to Batote. However, the authorities had stopped other vehicles at Udhampur and Jammu.

No vehicle was allowed to leave for Jammu or Srinagar this morning. Officials said fresh vehicles would be allowed to leave summer and winter capitals only when all the stranded vehicles were cleared.

They said efforts were being made to clear the passenger vehicles, stranded on the highway for the past two days. Thousands of passengers had also been stranded at Jammu.

Hundreds of passengers, mostly non-Kashmiries, including labourers from Bihari, were also stranded, they added.


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