|Early Times Report|
Jammu, Jan 20 : One-way traffic will continue to ply from Jammu to Srinagar for the second consecutive day on Monday on the national highway, the only road connecting Kashmir valley with the rest of the country.
Meanwhile, over 2000 vehicles, mostly Heavy Motor Vehicles (HMVs) carrying fruits, are stranded on this side of the Jawahar tunnel for the past about a week. ”We allowed traffic from Jammu to Srinagar on Sunday to clear vehicles, including trucks carrying essentials, oil and LPG tankers,” a traffic police official said.
He said that today also, traffic will ply from Jammu to Srinagar and no vehicle will be allowed from opposite direction. However, he said Light Motor Vehicles (LMVs) were allowed to cross Nagrota before 1100 hrs and HMVs, to move in the afternoon.
Traffic on the highway was allowed to ply from Srinagar to Jammu on Friday and Saturday. About 7000 vehicles, including HMVs, which were stranded on the Highway, were cleared during these two days. He admitted that some vehicles remained stranded.
However, about 2000 HMVs and other vehicles are stranded on this side of the tunnel. Truckers alleged that they were stranded on the highway for the past about a week. They further alleged that traffic police personnel deployed on the highway are allowing only those vehicles, who pay bribe.
Drivers of trucks and oil tankers said it took about two weeks to reach Srinagar from Jammu and equal number of days or more to reach back to Jammu.
”Let authorities allow traffic from one side for two consecutive days to avoid traffic jam,” they said, adding but no vehicle should be allowed from the opposite direction.
However, a senior traffic police official refuted the truckers allegation and said since the road remain slippery in the morning and evening hours, drivers are driving their vehicles very slowly particularly between Qazigund to Ramban.
We are allowing HMVs and other vehicles without any discrimination or favour, he said. There is a forecast for fresh snowfall in the region during the next 24 hours which could again affect air and surface traffic. The highway frequently gets closed due to landslides and snowfall, leading to acute shortage of essentials, particularly vegetables, meat, chicken and other eatables.
The prices of commodities are also going up due to frequent suspension of traffic on the highway, which has become a daily routine since the National Highway Authority of India ( NHAI) started road widening, particularly between Ramban and Ramsu. Meanwhile, the 434-km-long highway, the only road connecting Union Territory (UT) Ladakh with Kashmir and 98-km-long Mughal road, linking Shopian in south Kashmir with Rajouri and Poonch in Jammu region, and Anantnag-Kishtwar road also remained closed for the past 41 days on Sunday, due to snow and slippery conditions.