The Kashmir Valley is running low on food supplies as the Jammu-Srinagar highway, the region’s only road link with the country, remained closed for the seventh day on Tuesday due to landslides brought by heavy rain and snow.
The Indian Air Force conducted several sorties during the day to airlift around 1,600 stranded passengers between Udhampur in Jammu and Srinagar, Kashmir divisional commissioner Baseer Khan said.
The 300-km highway was closed on March 8 as landslides and shooting stones rained in after a fresh but a late spell of snow and rain.
Fresh landslides in Ramban and other areas on Monday left a trail of muck that blocked the road which cuts through a treacherous mountainous terrain.
“We have managed to remove the debris to a large extent and made a makeshift track for one way traffic of light motor vehicles,” SSP (traffic, rural) Aijaz Ahmad Bhat said.
If the weather would hold, they would assess the condition for the movement of 1,000-1,500 heavy vehicles on Wednesday, Bhatt said.
Around 1,500 trucks carrying essentials such as vegetables, livestock and oils are stuck on the highway, some parts of which were opened to allow around 200 cars and light vehicles.
While local supply is ensuring enough vegetables, meat and poultry supplies have dried up.
Khan warned of a food shortage if the highway didn’t open in a few days. “Right now the stocks have dwindled. We are keeping a track of the situation. If need arises, we may airlift essential commodities,” he said.
Work is on to build an all-weather road to keep the Valley connected to rest of the country through the year but the work is behind schedule.