Keran road reopens; dozens of far-flung, remote areas remain cut off in Kashmir

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Srinagar, Jan 17: Traffic on Kupwara-Keran, a border town in north Kashmir, road was resumed on Thursday after remaining closed for seven days due to heavy snowfall.
However, dozens of far-flung and remote areas, including those near the Line of Control (LoC), remained cut off for the eighth successive day from their respective districts and tehsil headquarters in north Kashmir due to slippery road conditions following moderate to heavy snowfall.
“We have restored one-way traffic on Kupwara-Keran road on Thursday evening after remaining closed for seven days due to heavy snowfall,” a Police Control Room (PCR) official said over the phone from Kupwara.
He said traffic has been allowed from Keran to Kupwara and no traffic will be allowed from the opposite direction.
Official sources said that dozens of roads, including border towns of Keran, Karnah, Machil, Tanghdar and Gurez, were closed following intermittent moderate to heavy snowfall since last week.
But, the Border Roads Organisation (BRO), responsible for the maintenance of Kupwara-Keran road, pressed into service sophisticated machines and men and restored traffic to the remote border town on Thursday evening.
However, they said roads to Machil and Karnah remained closed for the eights successive day on Thursday, following very heavy snowfall.
Similarly, dozens of other far-flung and remote villages remained cut off from their tehsil and district headquarters after closure of Razdan top, Z-Gali, Phirkiyan pass and other passes due to moderate to heavy snowfall. But, efforts are being made to clear the snow and restore traffic on these roads also.
Meanwhile, stranded passengers staged a protest in Kupwara against the Beacon and district administration on Wednesday, demanding immediate clearance of snow. “The snow clearance operation was very slow and there is prediction of fresh snowfall from Friday,” the passengers of Karnah said.
They alleged that some top officers of Beacon have directed their field staff to go slow due to which road to Karnah could not be reopened despite less snow as compared to Keran and Tangdhar.
The border town of Gurez, which is surrounded by Pakistan administered Kashmir (PaK) from three sides, besides Neeru and dozens of other villages also remained cut off from district headquarter Bandipora since last Friday evening due to accumulation of snow and slippery road conditions. There is also forecast for fresh snowfall from Friday onwards.
A PCR official said over the phone from Bandipora that it is highly unlikely that the road will again be put through for traffic during winter months. “Huge snow has accumulated on the road, particularly at Razdan pass and the clearance operation has become very tough as the snow has become very hard due to mercury dropping several degrees below freezing point,” he said.