Srinagar, Nov 4: The Jammu-Srinagar national highway was opened for one-way traffic Sunday, a day after being closed due to heavy snowfall and landslides, and over 700 stranded commuters were rescued overnight from the Jawahar tunnel area.
The only all-weather road linking the Kashmir Valley with the rest of the country, was opened for traffic coming from Srinagar to Jammu after nine hours of clearance operations, they said.
The operation along the Jawahar tunnel, and Qazigund and Banihal-Ramban stretches was launched around 5 am on Sunday, Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP), Ramban, Anita Sharma, told PTI.
It took almost nine hours for workers to clear the road for one-way traffic, she said.
In a major overnight rescue operation, over 700 stranded passengers were evacuated from both sides of the Jawahar tunnel, a police spokesman said, according to a PTI report.
The SSP said they were Jammu-bound commuters and were rescued from the Kashmir-side of the tunnel and the Verinag Zing area, where more than one-feet of snow had accumulated.
"In the night-long operation, police evacuated 700 stranded passengers from the Jawahar tunnel area. Passengers stranded at either side (of the tunnel) were evacuated," the spokesman said.
The evacuated people, including tourists, were accommodated in shelter sheds, religious places and sarais in Banihal's Nowgam and Gund areas, and in Qazigund, he said.
In addition, 1,000 civilians, who were stuck in other parts of the highway, were also provided food and shelter in Banihal by police and the civil administration, the spokesman said, according to PTI.
Traffic limps back to normalcy
The traffic on the highway is plying alternatively from the twin capitals of Srinagar and Jammu since early last month to facilitate smooth movement of vehicles after commuters complained of traffic snarls.
The 270-km highway was closed for vehicular traffic on Saturday evening after heavy snowfall in Qazigund-Jawahar tunnel sector coupled with landslides at Pantiyal, Ramsoo, Digdol and Battery cheshma along Banihal-Ramban stretch due to incessant rains.
Former police chief SP Vaid cherishes beauty of snowfall in Kashmir
Ex-Jammu and Kashmir police chief Shesh Paul Vaid on Sunday said he cherished the first snowfall in the state this season on Saturday.
"Had to stay overnight in Srinagar due to cancellation of all flights from Sheikh ul-Alam International Airport. However it was a pleasure to experience first snowfall of the season. Invite all my countrymen to visit your own Kashmir to see & experience this beauty first hand," Vaid tweeted.
He also shared some beautiful images of the Valley for his followers on Twitter.