M A I N   N E W S

1,000 stranded on Srinagar highway
TNS and agencies

Srinagar/Shimla, January 30
The cold intensified in northern India with heavy snowfall and rain in the upper reaches of the Himalayas, which triggered landslides resulting in the closure of the Jammu-Srinagar highway and the Hindustan-Tibet Road in Himachal Pradesh today.

Over 1000 passengers were stranded on the Srinagar-Jammu national highway, the only road to the Kashmir valley, as fresh landslides forced the authorities to suspend traffic on the 300-km-long arterial road for the second time in three days, official sources said.

Travelling in over 120 vehicles, people had left Srinagar and Jammu yesterday following the reopening of the road. The vehicles that left early in the morning reached their destinations, but those that started late were stranded on the highway, they said.

More than a foot of snow had accumulated in the Jawahar Tunnel area, the gateway to the Kashmir valley, by this afternoon and it still snowing, the sources said. About 40 vehicles were stranded there, but all passengers were safe. In Chandigarh and adjoining areas of Punjab and Haryana, under an overcast sky with occasional drizzle, the day temperature stayed around 18.0C.

Ludhiana recorded 3 mm rainfall and a low of 9.9C while Patiala reported just 0.2 mm rain and a low of 9.8C.

In Himachal Pradesh, the upper areas of Shimla, Kinnaur and Kulu districts were cut off as heavy snow blocked the main roads. The Hindustan-Tibet Road was blocked beyond Shimla. The Rampur-bound traffic was diverted via Basantpur and Dhami.

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