JAMMU: The Jammu-Srinagar national highway was closed for traffic on Tuesday following snowfall in Jawahar Tunnel area and multiple landslides between Banihal and Chanderkote, according to officials. Over 300 vehicles have been stranded on both sides of the highway due to landslides. The Jawahar Tunnel - the gateway to Kashmir - witnessed snowfall this morning. Traffic was suspended between Banihal and Qazigund towns, the officials said. Incessant rainfall in most parts of the highway, the only all-weather road linking Kashmir with rest of the country, for the third day on Tuesday, triggered landslides at nearly a dozen places between Banihal and Chanderkote.
Parul Bhardwaj, Deputy Superintendent of Police Traffic (National Highway Ramban), said a few hundred vehicles were stranded on the road between Nashri and Chanderkote since Monday night. “Despite incessant rain and the lurking threat of shooting stones, the men and machinery kept the highway open. Majority of the stranded vehicles in Ramban were cleared last night itself,” he told news agency PTI.According to the official, a major landslide had struck the highway overnight at Cafeteria Morh, while the road is also closed by debris at many places including Maroog, Monkey Morh, Panthiyal, Digdole, Sherbibi and Shabinbas.
Once the weather improves, all out efforts would be made to ensure early restoration of the highway, the officer said. Reports of snowfall were also received from other high altitude areas including Peer Ki Gali along Mughal Road connecting the twin districts of Rajouri and Poonch in Jammu region with Shopian in south Kashmir.
The Mughal road was closed for traffic in December and is expected to be thrown open on completion of the snow clearance operation in the first or second week of next month, they said. Snowfall was also recorded in the upper reaches of Ramban, Doda and Kishtwar districts, while Jammu city saw overnight rain, resulting in a drop in the temperature.The minimum temperature in Jammu city settled at 14.9 degrees Celsius against the 16.2 degrees Celsius the previous night, a spokesperson of the Meteorological department said.