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Posted at: Feb 11, 2019, 7:37 AM; last updated: Feb 11, 2019, 7:37 AM (IST)

Highway remains shut for 5th day

Highway remains shut for 5th day
Vehicles stuck in a jam near Patnitop in Udhampur. Tribune Photo

Azhar Qadri

Tribune News Service

Srinagar, February 10

The 300-km Srinagar-Jammu national highway remained shut for the fifth consecutive day on Sunday due to accumulation of snow and landslides along its mountainous stretches.

The highway is unlikely to be completely restored in the coming days as the Srinagar Meteorological Centre issued a fresh forecast of more snowfall in the region.

The highway — a crucial route for supply of essentials to the Kashmir valley — continued to remain shut even as the administration said it was working on a “war footing” to restore it.

A traffic department official said the highway remained shut as a thick layer of snow had accumulated in the area around Jawahar Tunnel and intermittent landslides and shooting stones were further blocking the mountainous stretches in the Ramban-Banihal area.

“We are working on a war-footing basis, (but) it will take more time,” the official said.

Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir, Baseer Khan, however, said most of the debris had been removed from the highway and it was expected to be restored by Sunday night.

“We are hopeful that the traffic will resume on Monday if there are no fresh landslides,” Khan said.

The intermittent closure of the highway in the past more than three weeks has created a humanitarian crisis in the Valley. Hundreds of passengers have not been able to travel to Kashmir and many residents have not been able to leave the Valley due to the highway closure. High airfares and frequent flight cancellations have also compounded the situation.

During the recent snow spell, dozens of flights, including 28 from New Delhi to Srinagar, were cancelled in three days. The shutdown of the highway has also led to the shortage of essentials in markets across Kashmir.

IAF airlifts 186 persons to Srinagar

  • The IAF on Sunday airlifted 186 passengers, including 170 students, from Jammu to Srinagar. The GATE aspirants had been flown by the IAF from Srinagar to Jammu in the past two days 
  • Students said they were relieved that they could appear in GATE on time. They expressed gratitude to the IAF for the help

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