The 300 km Jammu-Srinagar national highway — the only surface link to Valley with the rest of India — remained closed for second consecutive day, however, some of the stranded vehicles were allowed to move on a trial basis on Thursday.
The highway was closed on Wednesday afternoon due to fresh landslides and caving of road at many places along the route from Udhampur to Banihal due to incessant rains.
“As many as 800 Srinagar-bound light motor vehicles, stranded at Ramban and Chanderkot since Wednesday, were cleared on Thursday. Nearly 200 vehicles, including 100 Jammu-bound heavy vehicles, stranded for the past four days at Qazigund near the Jawahar Tunnel, were also allowed to move around 3pm on a trial basis. Most of the light vehicles have crossed Ramban, while few trucks are on the way. All these vehicles are expected to reach Jammu by late evening”, said a spokesman of the Jammu traffic department here on Thursday.
“However, landslides at Magarkote, Nashri, Gangroo, Hingni and Panthal are hampering the hassle-free movement of vehicles. Also, there is shooting of stones at Gangroo and Rmasoo. Though men and machinery of the Border Road Organisation (BRO) are engaged in restoration work, incessant rain is hampering the road clearance work,” said the spokesperson.
“The arterial Doda-Kishtwar highway remained closed due to landslides; however, the road clearance work is on here since morning,” he added.
After remaining closed for three days, the Jammu-Srinagar was opened for one-way traffic from Jammu to Srinagar on Tuesday.
Due to closure of the highway, more than 300 passengers are stranded at Jammu bus stand. The highway remained closed for the last past five days due to inclement weather, which led to inconvenience to passengers here.
In the first three days, nearly 3,000 passengers got stuck at Jammu bus stand, while as many as 2,000 passengers in 175 vehicles were allowed to move on Tuesday. On Wednesday, around 700 passengers left for the Valley in 150 light motor vehicles. However, the remaining passengers are still waiting for opening of the highway.
Meanwhile, around 100 people, whose house caved in due to landslides in Pooch, were rescued and shifted to safer zones by the Poonch district administration.
Poonch district commissioner (DC) MH Malik said, “In two separate incidents, both in Mandi tehsil in Poonch district, 22 families were rescued by our team. The rain is pouring heavily in this area.”
The DC said, “In Loren, Bhattalkote, 15 families with 84 members got stuck in eight houses that caved in due to landslides in the morning. Soon after receiving information, rescue teams rushed the spot and all 84 people were evacuated to nearby Government High School and panchyat ghar. No one was injured in the incident. We have provided blankets and food items to them.”
“In another incident at Arai, Mandi, seven families trapped in their caved in houses had been shifted to safer locations,” he added.