Srinagar: The Srinagar-Jammu national highway – the only all-weather road linking Kashmir valley with the rest of India – remained shut for the fourth consecutive day on Thursday due to landslides, a traffic department official said.
Shooting stones and smaller landslides at a few places have hampered efforts to clear the highway, the official said.
The highway was briefly re-opened for traffic on Tuesday after two days of closure, but it was closed again yesterday due to the landslides, he said.
The 270-km highway was closed again due to landslides at Kela Morh area of Ramban on Thursday.
“The Srinagar-Jammu national highway is closed for traffic due to landslides at Kela Morh Ramban,” an official of the Traffic Control Room here said.
He said road maintenance agencies are on the job to clear the highway. At least 2,000 vehicles are stranded at different places on the 300-km-long road.
“Clearance work is under process and a decision to allow movement of traffic on the highway will be taken only after the road is cleared off by the concerned road maintenance agency and after assessing weather as well as road conditions,” the official said.
The official added that the clearance process of debris at Marog is still taking time due to fresh landslides today.
The highway was closed for traffic on Monday as Kashmir experienced the season’s first major snowfall.
The closure of the highway resulted in shooting of airfare prices from Srinagar to Jammu and vice versa. The airlines operating in the state have raised their airfares. The minimum prices of the available ticket is around 15 thousand from Jammu to Srinagar while from Delhi to Srinagar, it is almost half of that price.
Meanwhile, the people stuck in traffic on the National highway say they have run out of money as hotels and shopkeepers have been charging exorbitant rates.
In valley, the closure of the highway resulted in shooting of prices of essential commodities. Divisional administration officials, however, maintain that there is an adequate stock of essential commodities in the valley. They warned that traders trying to take advantage of the roadblock will be dealt with severely.
Meanwhile traffic will be allowed to move from Jammu to Srinagar today.
“The traffic will ply one way today (Friday) and the vehicles will be allowed to move from Jammu to Srinagar only,” the official said, adding that no vehicle will be allowed to move from the opposite side.