Over 1700 vehicles remain stranded as the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway remained closed for the third consecutive day Friday due to landslides triggered by heavy rains in Ramban district of Jammu and Kashmir. The highway has been blocked since Wednesday.
"There have been landslides at some places along the Ramsoo-Ramban stretch of the highway due to heavy rain in the area, while fresh snowfall occurred in the Bannihal sector," a traffic department official said.
"The highway will remain closed till the landslide debris and accumulated snow is completely cleared. A clearance operation is likely to begin later in the day as the weather office has forecast an improvement in the weather conditions," the official added.
Five landslides triggered by rains struck the strategic 270-km highway at Khuni Nallah, Panthiyal, Digdole, Battery Cheshma and Maroog, blocking the only all-weather road linking Kashmir with rest of the country.
According to officials, vehicles are stranded on the highway in Ramban, Udhampur, Jammu, Samba and Kathua districts.
"No traffic has been allowed to move from Nagrota area of Jammu towards Kashmir Valley in view of the closure of the highway," officials said adding, "The Batota-Doda-Kishtwar road is also blocked at two places and work is on to clear the road."
Some locals, especially from the Sikh community, living along the highway, are distributing free 'langar' for the stranded people.
After two days of snowfall and heavy rain, the weather in Jammu and Kashmir is likely to improve on Friday, the Met Department said. "Weather is likely to improve in from today afternoon. Dry weather is expected to continue till February 25," an official said.
The minimum temperature in Srinagar was recorded at 1.0 degrees Celsius, while in Pahalgam and Gulmarg it was minus 1.1 and minus 6.4, respectively.
In the Ladakh region, Leh recorded a minus 5.4 degrees Celsius, Kargil minus 13.2 and Drass minus 9.4. Jammu city recorded 10.1, Katra 9.4, Batote 2.1, Bannihal 3.8 and Bhaderwah 1.6.
(With inputs from IANS)