Jammu: The Srinagar-Jammu highway remained closed for the fifth consecutive day Friday even as authorities said 1700 out of over 2000 vehicles stranded at various places along the thoroughfare were cleared.
“Nearly 1700 light motor vehicles have crossed the Jawahar Tunnel and the remaining will be cleared by 11 pm Friday. If weather stays fine, we will allow light motor vehicles from Jammu to Srinagar from 4 am to 8 am Saturday,” IGP Traffic Muneer Khan told Kashmir Reader.
“Trucks carrying essential commodities will be allowed to move towards Srinagar after 8 am,” he said.
Meanwhile, hundreds of stranded Kashmir-bound passengers held protests in Jammu, demanding government to make arrangements to airlift them to the Valley immediately.
Minister of State for Tourism Abdul Ghani Kohli faced protests at the bus stand and stranded people held the government responsible for their miserable condition.
Amid protests, Kohli told reporters that he has directed the Regional Transport Officer (RTO) to provide free ride to the Kashmir-bound passengers once the road reopens.
On the demand of airlifting of passengers to the Valley, the minister said he will take up the issue with the Chief Minister.
Led by newly-appointed Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Congress Committee (JKPCC) president Ghulam Ahmed Mir, some Congress leaders including MLAs visited the Jammu bus stand to enquire about the condition of passengers, who have been stranded at bus stand for the past over six days.
“We demand immediate airlifting of the passengers of Kashmir to the Valley, particularly those with illness and elderly, who are suffering due to failure of the state government to come to their help,” Mir told reporters.
Most of the passengers are running short of money and are spending nights under open sky. Two ministers—Naeem Akhtar and Altaf Bukhari—came here on Thursday and “promised to take us to the Valley and make arrangements for food and shelter… But nothing has been done by the government so far…,” the protesters said.
The passengers alleged that shopkeepers along the highway were charging exorbitant rates for necessary items.—With inputs from PTI