Srinagar, Feb 21: Snow clearance operation was on Friday started on the 434-km-long Srinagar-Leh national highway, the only road connecting Union Territory (UT) of Ladakh with Kashmir valley. The highway remained closed due to accumulation of 6 feet to 12 feet of snow for the past about three months. Meanwhile, the 270-km-long Srinagar-Jammu was open for one-way traffic and on Friday up convoy is allowed. However, the 86-km-long historic Mughal road, linking Shopian in south Kashmir with Rajouri and Poonch in Jammu region and Anantnag-Kishtwar road remained closed for the past about three months. We have started snow clearance operation on the Srinagar-Leh national highway from today, about a month earlier following improvement in the weather, official sources told UNI.
They said sophisticated machines and trained men were put into service this morning from Gagangeer to clear the accumulated snow towards Sonamarg, the last halting station on this side of the Zojila pass on the highway. Once the 12-km-long stretch is cleared, snow clearance operation will commence towards Zojila pass, they added. However, due to threat of avalanches, extra precautionary measures have been taken to prevent any accident during snow clearance operation, they said.
Meanwhile, a report from Drass, the second coldest place in the world after Siberia, on the highway said snow clearance operation from other side of the Zojila has yet to commence. It said there are ten to 12 feet of frozen snow on the road between Zojila and Meenmarg.
The Government of India (GoI) has sanctioned two tunnels at Gagangeer and Zojila to make Srinagar-Leh national highway all weather road.
Only one-way traffic will continue to ply on the Srinagar-Jammu national highway till further orders, a traffic police official told UNI this morning.
Today traffic will ply from Jammu to Jammu and no vehicle will be allowed from opposite direction, he said. However, he said, Light Motor Vehicles (LMVs) will have to cross Nagrota, between 0700 hrs to 1300 hrs. Later, Heavy Motor Vehicles (HMVs) will be allowed in the afternoon, he added.