After snow, landslips block Jammu-Srinagar highway
DAY 5 Shooting stones make road-clearing operations a tough task for authorities
JAMMU/SRINAGAR: The Valley remained cut off from the rest of the country for the fifth consecutive day on Sunday, due to the closure of Jammu-Srinagar national highway. The highway was closed on Tuesday after it was blocked due accumulation of snow at Nowgam-Jawahar Tunnel-Qazigund sector and multiple landslides between Ramban and Banihal sections along the highway.
Though snow has been cleared, fresh landslides in last three days, especially between Ramsoo-Ramban sector, has hit the restoration work, leaving many vehicles stranded at diffident locations from Jammu to Rambam.
“The highway was cleared of debris on Saturday, however, fresh landslides had occurred at Panthial, Kela Morh and Battery Chashma, Digdole, Khuni Nallah and Maroog overnight leaving the road once again blocked,” Ramban deputy superintendent of police, traffic, Suresh Sharma said.
Continuous shooting of stones is posing a major challenge to the agencies involved in the clearance operation. As per locals, it will take at least three days to clear the debris, provided the sliding stops.
Nearly 3000 Kashmir-bound vehicles, including trucks and other load carriers, were stranded at Jammu bypass and Udhampur besides ManwalMansar area of the highway.
In view of the closure of the highway,186 passengers stranded at Jammu were airlifted to Srinagar on Sunday.
An executive engineer, who was assigned to clear snow on roads in Kishtwar district, was suspended for dereliction of duty, an official spokesperson said.
District development commissioner Angrez Singh Rana said he had passed directions to all officers to remain on high alert and keep men and machinery on standby in view of the prediction of heavy snowfall on Thursday.
However, the officer paid no heed towards the directions and left the headquarter without informing the deputy commissioner. Meanwhile, Srinagar recorded -3.4°C as the minimum temperature on Sunday, while in Pahalgam and Gulmarg it was -8°C and -10°C. Most water taps were frozen in Srinagar. People lit small fires around the water pipes to defrost them. The night temperature in Jammu city marked an increase of over three notches to settle at 7.1°C, three notches below normal, against the previous night’s 4°C.
REMOTE AREAS IN HP REMAIN CUT OFF
Weather woes continue to affect residents of remote areas in Himachal Pradesh as they remain cutoff from the rest of the state due to snow.
Most roads in tribal Kinnaur, Lahaul and Spiti and Bharmour and Pangi sub-divisions in Chamba district and higher reaches in Shimla, Mandi and Sirmour remain closed for traffic.
Adding to the woes, most homes in Bharmour are without electricity for the last three days. The remote Chhota Bhangal region of Kangra district also remained cut off for another day
Bharmour sub-divisional magistrate Prithi Pal Singh said there has been an extensive damage to power transmission lines in the region and it may take more than a week to restore the power supply.
■ A snow-clearing operation in progress on the Jammu-Srinagar national highway at Qazigund in Srinagar on Sunday.