Srinagar, Feb 15: The Kashmir valley remained cut off from rest of the country for the fourth consecutive day on Thursday due closure of 300-km-long Srinagar-Jammu national highway following fresh landslide after snow and rain.
Dozens of far flung and remote villages, including those near the Line of Control (LoC) in north Kashmir remained cut off from their respective district headquarters due to accumulation of snow and slippery road conditions.
The national highway, linking Ladakh region with Kashmir and 86-km-long historic Mughal road also remained closed.
Hundreds of vehicle, including those carrying passengers besides two dead bodies, remained stranded at different places on the highway. Kashmir bound passengers stranded at Jammu alleged that the local authorities have failed to provide them any relief and they are being charged extra by the local traders.
The road at Penthal and Anokhapal was cleared yesterday in the afternoon but before vehicles could be allowed to move, there were fresh landslides at other places also, a traffic police official said.
He said the Border Roads Organisation (BRO), responsible for the maintenance of the highway, has been working almost round the clock to put through the traffic. The BRO has already pressed into service sophisticated machines and men to clear the landslides.
The national highway was closed on Monday due to snow, landslides and slippery road condition.
We will allow traffic only after receiving green signal from the traffic police officials posted at different places besides BRO, he said adding only stranded vehicles will be cleared before allowing fresh traffic from Srinagar or Jammu.
The authorities have also issued fresh low danger avalanche warning on Srinagar-Jammu national highway.
Several passengers, including women, risked their lives and covered the affected hilly area on foot to board the vehicle at next available place. The locals alleged that mountains slopes have collapsed due to some construction work particularly between Banihal and Ramban.
A woman carrying the body of her minor son besides a person with the body of his mother are among the large number of Kashmir bound stranded passengers for the past three days.
Large of passengers, stranded at Jammu bus stand, said that they have no money to stay in a hotel or pay for meals. We are stranded in Jammu for the past four days and have no money left now, they said and alleged that authorities have failed to make any arrangement for them.
Meanwhile, the national highway, connecting Ladakh with Kashmir remained closed since December last year. There was fresh snowfall at Sonamarg, Zojila pass and Meenmarg on 434-km-long Srinagar-Leh national highway early this week. The road is also very slippery due to below freezing temperature; officials said adding the road is likely to reopen after April.
The 86-km-long historic Mughal road, connecting Shopian in south Kashmir with Rajouri and Poonch in Jammu region also remained closed since December last year. There was also fresh snowfall on the highway, including at Pir-ki-Gali, Harpora and Shopian during the past 24 hours. The road is likely to reopen in May, they said.
Meanwhile, dozens of far flung and remote villages, including those near the LoC remained cut off with their respective district and tehsil headquarters due to fresh snowfall in north Kashmir recently.
The Sadhna top, Z-Gali and Phirkiyan pass remained closed due to moderate to heavy snowfall on Sunday night, official sources said on Thursday.
The road between Bandipora to border town of Gurez also remained closed due to accumulation of snow, particularly at Razdan top. There was fresh snowfall during the past 36 hours, a Police Control Room (PCR) official said over phone from Bandipora. The road is likely to reopen in March or April, he said.
Roads from Kupwara to border towns of Keran, Karnah, Machil, Tangdhar and dozens of other far flung and remote villages, including those near LoC, also remained closed.
There was fresh snowfall since Sunday night, a PCR official said from Kupwara. He said about six inches to one feet of fresh snowfall had accumulated at Z-Gali, Phirkiyan pass and Sadhna top, where eleven persons, including Border Roads Organisation (BRO) officer, were killed in a snow avalanche in January this year.
Meanwhile, State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA) has issued High danger avalanche warning for Baramulla, Kupwara and Bandipora districts including Gulmarg, Kupwara-Chowkibal-Tangdhar sector, Furkian-Z Gali, Bandipora-Kanzalwan-Gurez sector.
He said medium danger avalanche warning has been issued for Kargil district in Ladakh region.
Low danger warning for Poonch, Rajouri, Reasi, Doda, Kishtwar, Udhampur, Kulgam, Budgam and Leh districts and Srinagar-Jammu National Highway.
People living in avalanche prone areas have been advised by the Disaster Management Authority to take precautionary measures, he said.