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Jammu-Srinagar highway reopens

The Jammu-Srinagar national highway re-opened after remaining closed for nearly two hours and Amarnath pilgrim traffic was allowed to resume onward journey.
By HT Correspondent | IANS, Srinagar
UPDATED ON JUN 18, 2008 04:18 PM IST

The Jammu-Srinagar national highway was re-opened on Wednesday morning after remaining closed for nearly two hours and Amarnath pilgrim traffic was allowed to resume onward journey, a police official said.

He added that 70 vehicles carrying 2,062 pilgrims are now on their way to the two base camps of Nunwan in south Kashmir's Pahalgam area and Baltal in north Kashmir's Ganderbal district.

The vehicles carrying the pilgrims from various states remained stranded on the highway near Samroli in Jammu region's Udhampur district, after landslides blocked it Wednesday morning.

"The highway has been cleared and the vehicles carrying pilgrims are now on way to Pahalgam and Baltal," Muhammad Amin Shah, inspector general of police (traffic), told IANS here.

About 6,335 pilgrims left from Baltal and Nunwan base camps towards the cave shrine Wednesday morning.

With this, the two month-long Amarnath yatra got underway under heavy security arrangements.

Chanting hymns, the pilgrims began the uphill journey even as the sky in Srinagar was overcast with early morning rain bringing down the temperatures.

Jammu and Kashmir Governor S.K. Sinha, who is also the chairman of the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board, anticipated a heavy pilgrim rush this year as news about the full formation of the Shivlingam had received wide publicity.

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