Snow Avalanche threat in Kashmir, roads cut off

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Srinagar, Feb 6: The Kashmir valley remained cut off from the rest of the country for the third consecutive day today due to heavy snowfall on the 300-km-long Srinagar-Jammu National Highway and landslides, triggered by rains.

Meanwhile, more than 600 trucks and other vehicles remained stranded on the highway, the only road linking Kashmir with the rest of the country. A traffic police official told to the sources here that the highway remained closed for vehicular traffic because of about seven feet of snowfall between Jawahar Tunnel and Banihal. It was still snowing, hampering the snow clearance operation started by the Border Roads Organisation (BRO), responsible for the maintenance of the highway.

He said more than 40 snow clearance machines and cutters besides hundreds of workers are working to clear the accumulated snow and make the highway traffic operational as soon as possible. Heavy rains in Penthal, the most trouble spot on the highway, also triggered landslides, he said.

The official said no vehicle was allowed to leave Jammu or Srinagar for the past three days. However, passenger vehicles, stranded on the highway have been cleared, he claimed.

Official sources however, said more than 600 vehicles, mostly trucks loaded with essential commodities and fruits, are stranded on either side of the tunnel on the highway.

However, the vehicles are in safe area where there is no threat of snow avalanche or landslides, they added.

More than 2000 people, including tourists who were heading for Kashmir, are stranded at Jammu and other places, they said adding similarly alltogether 2500 people are stranded here.

They said traffic on the highway will be resumed only when there is no further snowfall and rain.

We will have to wait for some time before allowing traffic because of the threat of snow avalanche in the tunnel and Banihal areas and landslides at Penthal, sources said.


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