Srinagar-Jammu highway closed for traffic, only stranded vehicles allowed to ply
Srinagar: After the major snowfall in the Valley, day temperature saw an improvement but nights are getting colder causing dangerous conditions on roads due to frost.
According to the Meteorological centre (MeT) in Srinagar, nights are witnessing sub-zero temperature.
The Srinagar-Jammu highway, meanwhile, continued to remain shut for the sixth consecutive day while air traffic was through at Srinagar Airport.
“Stranded traffic has been allowed to move after the highway was cleared for the movement of traffic this morning,” an official of the Traffic control room said.
The 260-kilometre-long highway was blocked due to snow, landslides and shooting stones caused by heavy snowfall since Sunday.
No new traffic was, however, allowed on the highway, the only all-weather road connecting Kashmir with the rest of the country, even though there was improvement in weather conditions across the Valley, they 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, which has become slippery at places due to snowfall, is assessed, the official said.
The official said 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.
According to an official at MeT, weather is going to remain dry in the coming days and there will be improvement in day temperature. “If the day temperature goes up and sun shines, nights will be colder,” he added.
Srinagar recorded a low of minus 0.4 degrees Celsius.
The minimum temperature in the Gulmarg tourist resort settled at minus 10 degrees Celsius. It was minus 8.4 degrees Celsius a night earlier.
The Pahalgam tourist resort, which also serves as a base camp for the annual Amarnath yatra in south Kashmir, recorded a low of minus 3.3 degrees Celsius.
Qazigund recorded a minimum of minus 1.8 degrees Celsius, Kupwara (in the north) minus 1.7 degrees Celsius, and Kokernag, minus 1.6 degrees Celsius, the Met said.
Srinagar Airport Director Santosh Dhoke told Kashmir Reader that against the normal 27 flights that operate from here, 32 flights departed from the airport.
“There were extra passengers most of them were stranded tourists. More than 5,700 passengers flew from here while 4,600 arrived against the norm of 4,000,” he added.
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 here as well as the water supply lines in several parts of the valley.
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).
With PTI inputs