Kashmir remains closed for fifth day

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Srinagar, Feb 8: The 300-km-long Srinagar-Jammu National Highway remained closed for the 5th consecutive day today due to heavy snowfall and landslides.

About one thousand vehicles, including those carrying essential commodities and passengers, are stranded at different places on the highway.

The highway, the only road linking the Kashmir valley with the rest of the country was still closed as it was heavily snowing at different places on the road, a traffic police official told UNI here.

He said more than 7 feet of snow had already accumulated between Jawahar tunnel and Banihal.

Snow clearance operation started by Border Roads Organisation (BRO), responsible for the maintenance of the highway, was being hampered by continuous snowfall, he said.

He said only stranded vehicles would be allowed to move towards their respective destinations once the clearance is through.

Official sources said it will take more than 8 hours to clear the accumulated snow on the highway once the snowfall stops.

They said heavy rains also triggered landslides and shooting of stones at Penthal, the most troubled spot on the highway. However, the BRO has pressed into service hundreds of labourers and machines to clear the road, they said.

Sources said traffic will be resumed on the highway only after receiving green signal from the authorities posted on the highway.

He said a major portion of the road between Qazigund to Banihal was avalanche-prone.

The authorities claimed that they have set up langers for the stranded passengers at Jammu bus stand and airport.

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad announced that Indian Airforce help would be sought to airlift the stranded passengers at Jammu and Srinagar once weather improves.


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