Following heavy rains that triggered landslides at several places, the 300-km long Jammu-Srinagar national highway — the only all-weather surface link that connects Kashmir with the outside world — was closed on Monday.
“The Srinagar-Jammu National Highway was closed for traffic on Monday as landslides occurred at several places along the highway on Sunday night. Landslides occurred at Seri, Karol, Mehar, Panthial, Banihal and Digdol in Ramban district at around 9.30 pm on Sunday. As a result, traffic movement came to an abrupt halt,” said a police officer.
Though around 2 pm on Monday, Border Roads Organisation (BRO) and other agencies cleared the landslides, restoring the highway for one-way traffic, traffic police did not allow any movement from Srinagar or Jammu, he added.
Men and machinery have been pressed into service to clear the highway of debris and muck left behind by landslides. Overnight rains stopped for a couple of hours on Monday but started again around 3 pm, the officer said.
A beeline of trucks ferrying essential commodities to Kashmir were halted near Nagrota in Jammu.
A spokesma of the meteorological department (MeT) said most parts of the Valley, including summer capital Srinagar, received rains overnight. Owing to the overcast conditions, night temperature across the Valley, except Gulmarg, remained above freezing point.
The spokesperson said there was possibility of light rainfall or snow, especially in the higher reaches of Kashmir, in the coming days after which the weather is likely to remain dry.
“Intending travellers should not undertake the journey before contacting our control rooms in Jammu and Srinagar to know the latest status of the highway,” the spokesperson added.
The 300 km-long highway gets closed due to heavy rains or snowfall, causing disruption of essential supplies to the landlocked Kashmir valley.
Closure of the highway also results in sky-rocketing of air travel fares between the valley and other parts of the country.
An aerial journey of barely 30 minutes between Srinagar and Jammu costs about ₹14,000 when the highway is closed.