2-way traffic resumes on Kashmir highway, stranded vehicles cleared

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Srinagar, Jan 12 (UNI) Two-way traffic resumed on the 300-km-long Srinagar-Jammu national highway this morning after all heavy vehicles, stranded since January 7, were cleared till last night.

A traffic police official told UNI that traffic was allowed from Srinagar and Jammu this morning after getting clearance from the traffic and Beacon officials posted at different places on the highway, the only road linking the Kashmir valley with the rest of the country.

He said there was fog on the highway in the morning and drivers were asked to ply vehicles on normal speed to avoid any accident.

Official sources said about three hundred trucks, loaded with essential commodites, stranded on the highway since January 7, were allowed to proceed towards their respective destinations yesterday.

However, the passenger vehicles were cleared on January 10 when the road was put through after the Border Roads Organisation (BRO), responsible for the maintainance of the highway, cleared about three feet of snow accumulated near Jawahar tunnel and Banihal area and landslides at Penthal, the most troubled spot.

A senior BRO officer said about 40 sophisticated machines and more than 250 workers were working round the clock to keep the highway through. He said it takes just few hours to clear the snow on the highway.

He said the National Highway Authority of India had planned to construct a tunnel near Penthal to avoid frequent road blocks due to landslides as the fencing errected there last year when the road remained closed for 20 days, was taken away by landslides recently.

Meanwhile, the road block has caused shortage of mutton while prices of other essential commodities, including fresh vegetables, eggs and coal has gone up.

The authorities have set up checking squads at Penthal chowk to foil any attempt by drivers to transport dead goats and sheeps into city.

UNI BAS FMH SP RAI1400

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