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Kashmir highway closed, fresh snowfall on upper reaches

Written by: Staff
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Srinagar, Dec 5: The Kashmir valley was today cut off from the rest of the country after the 300-km-long Srinagar-Jammu national highway was closed due to landslides, triggered by heavy rains.

However, all outgoing and incoming flights operated normally.

A traffic police official told UNI that the highway, the only road linking the Kashmir valley with the rest of the country, was closed early this morning following landslides and shooting of stones between Ramban and Ramsu.

He said the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) resposible for the maintenance of the highway has pressed into service men and machines to make it traffic worthy.

The authorities had decided to allow only-way traffic yesterday after a portion of the highway was damaged. However, no vehicle was allowed from Jammu or Srinagar today, spokesman said.

Official sources said hundreds of vehicles are stranded on either side of the Jawahar tunnel, the highest point on the highway.

The district authorities in the frontier district of Kupwara has pressed into service seven snow clearance machines to clear the road between Kupwara-Keran and Karnah. The administration has also engaged labourers to remove the snow on the road so that hajis of far flung and remote areas could reach Srinagar for undertaking the journey to Jeddah.

The world famous ski resort of Gulmarg has turned into a mini Switzerland as two to three feet of snowfall has accmulated on the slopes running from 2 km to 20 km.

A report from Baramulla said the town witnessed fresh snowfall today, disrupting normal life.

Reports said that about six inches to one feet of fresh snowfall was experienced on the upper reaches in the north Kashmir since last evening.

Sources said heavy snowfall was also recorded at holy Amarnath cave and its periphery and Mahaguns, Pisso top, Sheshnag and Panjtherni on the 45 km pilgrimage route from base camp Pahalgam.

The tourist spots of Yumarg, Tosamaidan, Deksum, Ahrabal and Sonamarg also received snowfall.

The plains, including Srinagar city, had rains throughout the night disrupting normal life. Almost all the localities, including Badshah Chowk, Natipora, Banapora Nowgam, Bemina, Exchange Road and Lal Nagar were under one feet of rain water due to faulty drainage system constructed at a cost of crores of Rupees.

A weather office spokesman said 17.6 mm rainfall was recorded in Srinagar it was 54.4 mm at Qazigund and 20.8 mm at Pahalgam and Kupwara 22.2 mm.

UNI

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