Kashmir Back to Normalcy as Road Links Partially Restored
By Fayaz Wani | Published: 25th December 2013 06:00 AM |
Two days after a major snowfall crippled road links from Kashmir to the rest of the country, they were partially restored on Tuesday with the authorities allowing vehicular movement from the summer capital along the 296-km Srinagar-Jammu National Highway.
However, the Srinagar-Sonamarg, Bandipora-Gurez and Kupwara-Karnah roads in the region remained closed.
Sunday’s snowfall ended an almost two-month-long dry spell in the Valley. While Srinagar experienced 1.8 cm snowfall, Qazigund in South Kashmir received 13 cm snowfall. The Pahalgam hill resort, which serves as a base camp for Amarnath Yatra, registered 17 cm snowfall. Gulmarg, Bhaderwah in Doda district, and Kishtwar received 15 cm, two ft, 6 inches of snow respectively.
The snowfall instantly closed the Srinagar-Jammu highway and other internal road links connecting Kashmir with upper reaches. The Border Roads Organisation, which looks after the maintenance of the Srinagar-Jammu National Highway, reopended the raod on Monday evening. Authorities allowed one-way traffic from Srinagar to Jammu.
“One-way traffic from Jammu to Srinagar and vice versa will be allowed on alternate days. However, daily programmes regarding up and down movement of traffic after assessing the situation, weather/road condition will be communicated on daily basis in the evening,” said a traffic police official. More than 400 stranded vehicles were cleared on both sides of Jawahar Tunnel by Tuesday afternoon.
Officials said a population of 30,000 has been cut from the rest of the Valley becuase of the disconnection of the Bandipora-Gurez road. “Gurez, which is near the Line of Control, has received three-four ft of snow and the population there has been disconnected. Although supplies were stocked for winter in October-November, the population needs regular supplies,” an official said.
On December 12, the Srinagar-Leh National Highway was closed for vehicular traffic for winter months. Meanwhile, authorities have sounded a high and medium danger avalanche warning. People living in upper reaches of Tangdhar, Kupwara, Baramulla, Sopore, Anantnag, Gurez, Nowgam, Uri and Sonamarg have been advised to avoid venturing into steep avalanche-prone slopes. They have also been advised to remove the snow from their roof tops to avoid causalities due to house collapses.
The weatherman has predicted improvement in weather conditions for next five or six days. “There will be no snowfall or rainfall in Srinagar or plains in coming days.” He said day and night temperature in Valley might also increase in the coming days.