Hundreds stranded on Kashmir highway, closed due to landslides

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Srinagar, Jan 17: The Kashmir valley remained cut off from the rest of the country for the second consecutive day today after the 300-km-long Srinagar-Jammu national highway was closed for traffic due to heavy snowfall and landslides yesterday.

Hundreds of vehicles were stranded on the highway, the only road link to the Valley.

No vehicle was allowed to leave Srinagar or Jammu today as the highway remained closed since yesterday afternoon following huge landslides triggered by rains at Penthal and snowfall at Jawahar tunnel and Banihal areas, a traffic police official told UNI here.

However, he said, landslides and continual shooting of stones at Penthal, the worst trouble spot on the highway, forced authorities to suspend traffic movement.

He said snow was not a problem as Border Roads Organisation (BRO), responsible for the maintenance of the highway, had enough machines and men to clear the accumulated snow from the road within hours.

The problem was shooting of stones and landslides at Penthal, which could be dangerous, he said adding untill the shooting of stones stops, allowing traffic on that portion of the highway will not be advisable.

Official sources said hundreds of trucks, besides passenger vehicles are stranded on the highway and efforts were being made to clear them.

They said no vehicle would be allowed from Srinagar or Jammu untill all the stranded vehicles were cleared.

Chief Engineer BEACON had said that a wall constructed near Penthal last year, was destroyed by landslides.

He said the National Highway Authority of India has decided to construct a tunnel near Penthal when the four-way lane Srinagar- Jammu project is taken up.

This is the second time in less than a fortnight that the highway was closed due to snowfall and landslides. A footballer from here was killed when a stone hit him at Penthal last week.

Prices of essential commodities shoot up once the highway was closed for a few days.

UNI

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