Kashmir

Kashmir highway through for traffic despite rain; Leh, Mughal road closed

File photo for representational purpose

SRINAGAR: Despite rain since early Wednesday morning, the Srinagar-Jammu national highway, connecting Kashmir valley with the rest of the country, was though for one-way traffic.

Meanwhile, massive snow clearance operation was going on to reopen the 434-km-long Srinagar-Leh national highway, connecting Ladakh region with Kashmir valley, and historic Mughal road, closed for the past about four months.
Phirkiyan and Razdan pass, linking dozens of far-flung and remote areas, including those near the Line of Control (LoC), also remained closed following from last couple of days due to fresh snowfall and avalanche threat in north Kashmir.

However, the Sadhna pass was through for traffic. Traffic was on Wednesday also restored on the road passing through Z-Gali after remaining closed for couple of days due to accumulation of snow.

”Despite rain since early this morning, today, vehicles will ply from Srinagar to Jammu only and no vehicle, including security force convoy, would be allowed from opposite direction on the highway,” a traffic police official said.

He said only one-way traffic will continue on the highway, the only road linking Kashmir with the rest of the country, till further orders. The road is under repair at several places besides widening work is also in progress, he said, adding that it has been decided to allow only one-way traffic to avoid any traffic jam or accident on the highway.

The Border Roads Organisation (BRO), responsible for the maintenance of the Srinagar-Leh national highway, has already started snow clearance operation by pressing into service sophisticated machines early this month.
The snow clearance operation was going on to put through the only road connecting Ladakh region with Kashmir, officials said.

They said this winter, there was very less snowfall as compared to previous years. However, due to sub zero temperature, the snow accumulated resulting in slippery road conditions.

”Now with the improvement in weather conditions, the BRO has started snow clearance operation though there was still avalanche threat. It would take about two weeks to clear the snow on the road, particularly in Zojila pass, Zero point and Meenmarg.

If everything goes normal, the road would be open in the first week of April,” they said. The highway was closed in December last year due to accumulation of snow and slippery road conditions.

Recently, people at Kargil and Drass protested against the authorities alleging that despite very less snowfall this winter, no snow clearance operation was started between Sonamarg to Zojila while snow on other side of the Zojila was cleared.

They demanded that entire road from Kargil to Sonmarg be handed over to district authorities Kargil. Meanwhile, snow clearance was going on a war footing to put through 86-km-long historic Mughal road, linking Shopian in south Kashmir with Rajouri and Poonch in Jammu region.

The Razdan pass, connecting Bandipora with border town of Gurez, Neeru and other far-flung and remote villages, mostly near LoC surrounded by Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) from three sides, remained closed since December last year due to accumulation of snow and slippery road conditions.

The road is likely to reopen next month, a Police Control Room (PCR) official told UNI over phone from Bandipora. There is also a threat of avalanche in the area, he added. (AGENCIES)

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