Jammu-Srinagar highway likely to open tomorrow
With the weather improving in Kashmir, authorities in Srinagar are confident that the strategic Jammu-Srinagar highway would be thrown open for traffic on March 3.
"Even yesterday 40 trucks carrying supplies crossed the Panthal road stretch and they have reached the Kashmir Valley. Today too we expect another convoy of trucks carrying essential supplies to reach here," Basharat Ahmad Dhar, Kashmir divisional commissioner told IANS in Srinagar.
"I have been assured by the Chief Engineer of the Border Roads Organization (BRO) if the weather behaves, as it is doing right now, the road would be formally opened for traffic tomorrow," Dhar added.
Due to a stretch of the road slipping away at Panthal near Ramban in the Jammu region, the highway has remained closed for nine days.
Though there is no immediate shortage of petrol, diesel, kerosene and LPG in the Valley, mutton, poultry products and vegetables have completely disappeared from the markets in Srinagar.
"Mutton sellers are charging anything between Rs. 230 and Rs. 250 per kilogram and poultry is available only in the black market," said Abdul Salam, 49, a resident of Srinagar city.
Reports from all other major cities and towns said that mutton, poultry and vegetable shops remained closed for the third consecutive day Friday.
The Valley is totally dependent for its supplies on the Jammu-Srinagar highway.
Meanwhile, the Indian Air Force (IAF) continued its sorties to airlift stranded passengers between Jammu and Srinagar for the third day today.
The IAF aircraft are transporting passengers free of cost. They were pressed into service after state Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad spoke to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.