Srinagar, Nov 25: The 434-km-long Srinagar-Leh national highway, the only road linking Ladakh region with Kashmir, opened on Sunday after remaining closed for about a week due to accumulation of snow and slippery road conditions coupled with avalanche threat following wet weather forecast.
Meanwhile, only one-way traffic will continue to ply on national highway, connecting Kashmir valley with the rest of the country and historic 86-km-long historic Mughal road.
Traffic on the Ladakh highway was suspended last week due to snowfall, avalanches and forecast for more wet weather due to which Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir, ordered suspension of the traffic as a precautionary measure till further orders. Over 100 vehicles, mostly empty trucks and oil tankers got stranded on other side of the Zojila pass. Stranded passengers and trucks were holding massive demonstrations at Kargil and Drass against the suspension of the traffic alleging that despite good road conditions they were not being allowed to move towards Kashmir. They further alleged that only security force vehicles were being allowed to ply on the highway.
We have resumed traffic on the highway on Sunday after a majority of stranded vehicles at Zojila were allowed to move yesterday, official sources said. They said today vehicles from Meenmarg were allowed to move towards Sonamarg in central Kashmir district of Ganderbal from 1000 hrs after improvement in the road condition which was slippery due to below freezing temperature, they said. We allowed the Light Motor Vehicles (LMV) first, they said adding Heavy Motor Vehicles (HMVs) will be allowed later.
Decision to allow traffic from Sonamarg to Meenmarg-Drass-Kargil will be taken after reviewing the road condition in the afternoon, they added.
Meanwhile, chairman and Chief Executive Councillor (CEO) Kargil, Feroz Ahmad Khan said there was acute shortage of essential commodities in the border district of Kargil on Srinagar-Leh national highway.
He said that the District Administration has deployed men and machinery of Mechanical Division Kargil to assist in the smooth regulation of traffic and the same cooperation needs to be done by the Ganderbal Administration as well.
The CEC and the Executive Councilors while highlighting the shortage of essential commodities in the district in general and Kargil town, in particular, said that the Srinagar-Kargil Road needs to be put through till enough essential commodities are stocked for winter month.
The CEC said that the Merchant Association Kargil has approached the LAHDC, Kargil and District Administration about the shortage of essential commodities and there is every apprehension of hue and cry among the general public if necessary, steps are not taken in the right earnest.
Meanwhile, Commander 762 BRTF Vijayak has agreed in principle to keep the road clear up to their jurisdiction Zero Point and also assured to maintain the slippery portion till India Gate in case need arises.
The CEC directed the Deputy Commissioner Kargil to maintain close liaison and coordination with Divisional Commissioner Kashmir, DC Ganderbal, SSP Ganderbal and SSP Traffic Rural Kashmir for smooth operation of Traffic on the Srinagar Kargil Road.
Meanwhile, Superintendent of Police Kargil was directed to ensure the deployment of police personnel on the road stretch from Zero Point up to India Gate to assist in regulation of traffic smoothly.
The CEC instructed the SE Mechanical Kargil to keep two JCBs and 4 trippers loaded with dry soil to spread on the icy portions of the road stretch to avoid skidding of vehicles on the highway. He was further directed to deploy a crane independently at the road stretches to assist the vehicular movement smoothly.
Only one-way traffic was allowed on historic Mughal road, connecting Shopian in south Kashmir with Rajouri and Poonch in Jammu region through Pir-ki-Gali and Buffliaz, he said adding no traffic will be allowed from opposite direction. Today traffic will be ply from Shopian to Buffliaz only.