Traffic resumes on Kashmir highway; Leh, Mughal road remain closed

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Srinagar, Dec 18: Traffic on the 300-km-long Srinagar-Jammu national highway was resumed on Tuesday after remaining suspended yesterday following a fresh landslides in Ramban while historic Mughal road and national highway, connecting Ladakh with Kashmir remained closed for the past nine days.
We have resumed traffic on Tuesday on the national highway, the only all weather road linking the Kashmir valley with the rest of the country, a traffic police official said.
He said there was a fresh landslides at Gangroo, Ramban, yesterday. However, the Border Roads Organisation (BRO), responsible for the maintainance of the highway, immediately put into service sophisticated machines and put through the road for one-way this morning.
Since only one way traffic is allowed, today vehicles will ply from Srinagar to Jammu and no vehicle will be allowed from opposite direction, he said. We have allowed Light Motor Vehicles (LMVs) Tuesdaymorning, he said adding if weather and road condition permits Heavy Motor Vehicle (HMVs) will be allowed from 1400 hrs till 2400 hrs.
Meanwhile, traffic on historic 86-km-long Mughal road remained suspended for the ninth day today as there was still several feet of snow accumulated at several places. “The snow has frozen due to which the road, connecting Shopian in south Kashmir with Rajouri and Poonch, has become very slippery,”. However, there is very remote chance of resumption of traffic on the road which remains closed for six winter months due to heavy snowfall and threat of avalanches.
He said traffic also remained suspended on 434-km-long Srinagar-Leh highway following snowfall due to which the road has become slippery. A large number of Kashmir vehicles, including empty trucks and oil tankers besides carrying passengers, are stranded at Drass, Kargil and other places on other side of the Zojila pass. Similarly, some vehicles are also stopped on this side of the pass in the central Kashmir district of Ganderbal.
There is very less chance of resumption of traffic on the highway following accumulation of snow due to below freezing temperature, making snow clearance operation difficult, official sources said, adding that there is also threat of avalanches.
The Ladakh region remains 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 an all weather road.
Meanwhile, in view of closure of Srinagar-Leh national highway due to accumulation of several feet of snow and slippery road conditions, the AN-32 Passenger Air Courier services between the summer capital of J&K and Kargil will be started from December 27.
Similar service will start between winter capital, Jammu, and Kargil from December 26.
Ladakh region remains cut off from the rest of the state for winter months due to accumulation of several feet of snow on 434-km-long Srinagar-Leh highway, an official spokesperson said.