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Despite rain, intermittent shooting stones one-way traffic restored on Kashmir highway
5/11/2019 11:25:04 PM

Early Times Report

SRINAGAR, May 11: Despite rain and intermittent shooting stones, one way traffic was restored on the Srinagar-Jammu national highway after remaining suspended since Wednesday evening due to landslides, official sources said on Saturday.
Only Kashmir-bound vehicles, stranded for the past two days in Ramban area, were being allowed to move. Intermittent shooting stones were being cleared immediately to continue traffic movement. There was also rain in the area which could trigger more landslides and shooting stones.
"We are allowing only stranded vehicles in Ramban area", the sources said. No vehicle will be allowed from opposite direction. Since the condition of highway is unpredictable, nobody knows when it will be closed again due to landslides. Traffic police personnel remained deployed at stone pelting and landslide prone areas to regulate traffic, they added. Traffic on the national highway, the only all weather road linking Kashmir valley with the rest of the country was suspended on Wednesday evening due landslides at Digdol and other areas in Ramban.
However, the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) and Border Roads Organisation (BRO), responsible for the maintenance of the highway, cleared the landslides and stranded vehicles were allowed to move towards Kashmir valley last evening for about two hours. But the traffic was again suspended after fresh landslides at Digdol. A driver who was operating a machine to clear the landslides was injured after hit by a stone early this morning.
Shooting stones continued today also at Digdol and other places in Ramban area badly hampering landslide clearance operation, sources said. There is also forecast for rain during the next four days on highway which could trigger more landslides and shooting stones.
There were about 3,000 vehicles stranded on the highway till yesterday morning. The number has increased to 8000, including trucks carrying essentials and oil tankers. Besides, passengers are stranded at different places on the Kashmir highway. Fresh vegetables and fruit had been damaged and chickens had died due to closure of the highway, the sources said.
Thousands of passengers, including woman and children, remained stranded on the highway. The administration is missing as there is no arrangement for them, they added.
Only stranded vehicles will be allowed to move as and when green signal is received from traffic police officials and BRO and NHAI.
Meanwhile, prices of essentials, particularly fresh vegetable and fruit besides chicken and meat, has witnessed sharp increase during the past few weeks due to frequent closure of the highway due to landslides and ban imposed by the authorities on movement of civilian traffic twice in a week on Sunday and Wednesday to allow free movement of security force convoy.
However, authorities have now lifted on Wednesday from next week but will continue on Sundays. Ban was imposed on civilian traffic after 44 CRPF personnel were killed in a fidayeen attack in February and similar unsuccessful attempt was made by militants near Jawahar tunnel.
The fruit growers association Sopore, in north Kashmir alleged that they have suffered a loss of over Rs 500 crores due to frequent closure of the highway for one or another reason. A truck carrying apple from here takes 10 to 15 days to reach Delhi and other mandies against just four to five days before the highway trouble.
"We were assured that 86-km-long historic Mughal road, connecting Shopian in south Kashmir with Rajouri and Poonch in Jammu region would be made available for few days exclusively for fruit trucks which proved to be a hoax, alleged Mohammad Yousuf one the officer-bearer of Sopore Mandi".
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