Srinagar-Jammu Highway cleared of snow; stranded vehicles allowed to ply
(Sourced from PTI)
Vehicles stranded on the Srinagar-Jammu National Highway were allowed to ply toward their destinations on Friday as the arterial road was cleared after remaining closed for five days due to heavy snowfall. No new traffic was, however, allowed on the highway, the only all-weather road connecting Kashmir with the rest of the country, even though weather conditions improved across the Valley.
An official of the Traffic control room said, "Stranded traffic has been allowed to move after the highway was cleared for the movement of traffic this morning." "After the light traffic is cleared, essential service vehicles and fuel and gas tankers will be allowed to ply toward Srinagar," he added.
The 260-kilometer-long highway was blocked due to snow, landslides, and shooting stones caused by heavy snowfall since Sunday. Kashmir Valley was cut off from the rest of the country on Sunday as the surface and aerial connections were suspended because of the heavy snow.
The official said, "The decision on re-opening the highway for fresh traffic will be taken once all the stranded vehicles are cleared and the condition of the road is assessed." "Mughal Road, the alternative road-link which connects the Valley to Jammu division through the Shopian-Rajouri axis was closed for traffic due to heavy snowfall in the region," he added.
The air traffic to and from Srinagar Airport was restored on Thursday morning. The weather office said conditions have improved across the Valley and it is likely to remain dry till January 14.
Srinagar city recorded a low of minus 0.4 degree Celsius. The minimum temperature in the Gulmarg tourist resort settled at minus 10 degree Celsius. The Pahalgam tourist resort recorded a low of minus 3.3 degree Celsius. The Meteorological Department said, "Qazigund recorded a minimum of minus 1.8 degree Celsius, Kupwara recorded minus 1.7 degree Celsius, and Kokernag recorded minus 1.6 degree Celsius."
Kashmir is currently under the grip of Chillai-Kalan, the 40-day harshest winter period when a cold wave grips the region and the temperature drops considerably leading to the freezing of water bodies, including the famous Dal Lake. The chances of snowfall are the highest during this period and most areas, especially in the higher reaches, receive heavy snowfall.
While Chillai-Kalan, which began on December 21 will end on January 31, the cold wave continues even after that in Kashmir with a 20-day-long Chillai-Khurd (small cold) and a 10-day-long Chillai-Bachha (baby cold).