Kashmir highway still closed, C M concerned
Srinagar, Mar 15: The Kashmir valley remained cut off from the rest of the country for the fifth consecutive day today following the closure of the 300-km-long Srinagar-Jammu national highway due to landslides and shooting stones.
Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad while expressing concern over the frequent closure of the highway, directed the Beacon authorities to work out a long term proposal so that the life line to Kashmir remains open uninterrupted.
Meanwhile, about 20 buses of State Road Transport Corporation (SRTC) with passengers stranded at Jammu since March 10 left for Penthal Deputy Inspector General of Police (Traffic) Mohammad Amin Shah told sources.
He said these passengers will cross Penthal, the most troubled spot on the highway, on foot to board vehicles on the other side for Srinagar.
This was the only alternative available to help the stranded passengers to reach Srinagar, he said adding similarly those who had come from Srinagar and crossed Penthal on foot were provided vehicles for Jammu.
He said the Border Roads Organisation (BRO), responsible for the maintenance of the highway, has pressed into service hundreds of labourers and machines to clear the landslides and repair the damaged portion of the road strip at Penthal.
The DIG said the decision to resume one-way traffic on the highway, would be taken only after receiving green signal from the BRO.
Official sources said about 5000 to 7000 passengers are stranded at Jammu.
About one thousand vehicles, including trucks loaded with essential commodities are stranded on the highway after it was closed for traffic due to landslides triggered by heavy rains There was about two to three feet of snow accumulated on the highway between Qazigund to Banihal.
The closure of the highway has resulted in shortage of almost all the essential commodities, including vegetables, meat, milk, fruits, chicken and other items being imported from different parts of Jammu and other states.
The prices of local vegetables has also increased many fold with no checking from the divisional administration.