Ladakh highway remains closed for the 4th day due to fresh snowfall

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Srinagar, Dec 13: The 434-km-long Srinagar-Leh national highway, the only road linking Ladakh region with Kashmir, remained closed for the fourth day on Thursday due to fresh snowfall, a traffic police official said Thursday morning.
Meanwhile, large number of vehicles, including trucks and oil tankers are stranded on both sides of the Zojila pass.
Traffic remained suspended on the highway due to fresh snowfall and slippery road conditions, traffic official said.
He said there is very less chance of resumption of traffic on the highway due to accumulation of snow and below freezing temperature due to which road has become slippery.
We could not resume traffic as the road has become very slippery due to accumulation of snow, which has frozen, particularly between Sonmarg in central Kashmir district of Ganderbal and Zojila and Meenmarg, he said adding there was also threat of avalanches. We have withdrawn all our men who were deployed to regulate traffic during summer, he said. However, local police and Beacon project officials were regulating traffic on the highway, he said adding there are very less chance of reopening the road before next summer.
Only one-way traffic was plying on the highway for the past several week after first heavy snowfall when the Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir, announced closure of the highway. However, protests by stranded passengers and residents of Kargil and Drass, one-way traffic was again allowed on the highway.
Meanwhile, large number of Kashmir bound vehicles, including empty trucks and oil tankers besides carrying passengers, are stranded at Drass, Kargil and Meenmarg. Similarly Ladakh bounds trucks, carrying essentials and oil tankers have been stopped at Sonamarg in the central Kashmir district of Ganderbal.
The Beacon authorities will start snow clearance operation only when the snowfall stop and there is no threat of avalanches, official sources said adding the highway will be declared closed for winter if there is no improvement in the weather and road condition.
The Ladakh region remained cut off during six winter months due to heavy snowfall and snow avalanches. The Government of India (GoI) and state government have already announced to construct a tunnel at Zojila to make it all weather road.