Day 4: Kashmir remains cut off due to landslides

The Kashmir valley remained cut off from rest of the country for the fourth consecutive day on Thursday due closure of 300-km-long Srinagar-Jammu national highway following fresh landslide after snow and rain.

Dozens of far-flung and remote villages, including those near the Line of Control (LoC) in north Kashmir, remained cut off from their respective district headquarters due to accumulation of snow and slippery road conditions.

The national highway, linking Ladakh region with Kashmir and 86-km-long historic Mughal road also remained closed.

Hundreds of vehicle, including those carrying passengers besides two bodies, remained stranded at different places on the highway. Kashmir-bound passengers stranded at Jammu alleged that the local authorities have failed to provide them any relief and they are being charged extra by the local traders.

The road at Penthal and Anokhapal was cleared yesterday in the afternoon but before vehicles could be allowed to move, there were fresh landslides at other places also, a traffic police official told UNI on Thursday morning.

He said the Border Roads Organisation (BRO), responsible for the maintenance of the highway, has been working almost round-the-clock to put through the traffic. The BRO has already pressed into service sophisticated machines and men to clear the landslides.

The national highway was closed on Monday due to snow, landslides and slippery road condition. ”We will allow traffic only after receiving green signal from the traffic police officials posted at different places besides BRO,” he said, adding that only stranded vehicles will be cleared before allowing fresh traffic from Srinagar or Jammu.

The authorities have also issued fresh low danger avalanche warning on Srinagar-Jammu national highway.

Several passengers, including women, risked their lives and covered the affected hilly area on foot to board the vehicle at next available place. The locals alleged that mountains slopes have collapsed due to some construction work particularly between Banihal and Ramban.

A woman, carrying the body of her minor son, besides a person with the body of his mother are among the large number of Kashmir-bound stranded passengers for the past three days.
Large number of passengers, stranded at Jammu bus stand, said that they have no money to stay in a hotel or pay for meals. ”We are stranded in Jammu for the past four days and have no money left now,” they said and alleged that authorities have failed to make any arrangement for them.

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