The lifeline Srinagar-Jammu national highway remained closed for the fourth day on Wednesday as fresh landslides were reported along the only road that connects the Valley with the rest of the country. Officials said the stranded vehicles along the highway have been taken to safer places amid continuous rain and snowfall.
“Jammu Srinagar NHW [national highway] blocked due to snow accumulation at Jawahar Tunnel and Landslides/mudslides/shooting stones at Samroli, Magarkot, Panthyal, Marog, Cafeteria mor, Dhalwas, Nashri @JmuKmrPolice,” tweeted Jammu & Kashmir traffic police.
A group of tourists from Rajasthan had a narrow escape along the highway near Panthal when a landslide hit the vehicle they were travelling in. Police said the tourists were rescued and were safe.
Heavy snowfall since the weekend has disrupted life across Kashmir, especially in South Kashmir and the upper reaches of North and Central Kashmir. Places like Kulgam district in South Kashmir have received up to six feet of snow. The heavy snowfall has prompted authorities to order rationing of petrol, diesel, and LPG cylinders as well as establish helplines at district headquarters.
Residents have complained that snow has not been cleared at many places and hampered the public movement.
The Jammu & Kashmir Disaster Management Authority separately issued an avalanche alert. “Medium level avalanche warning has been issued for upper reaches of Poonch, Rajouri, Ramban, Jawahar Tunnel, Doda, Kishtwar, Anantnag, Kulgam, Kupwara and Tanghdar. Similarly, low-level avalanche warning has been issued for upper reaches of Gulmarg, Gurez, Kanzalwan, and Sonmarg,” said an official of the authority.
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) said the weather was expected to improve from Thursday. “Present weather conditions are likely to continue till late tonight [Wednesday] or early tomorrow [Thursday]. We expect a significant improvement in weather from tomorrow…[Thursday] in Jammu and Kashmir. With that cold wave will return from January 7th [Thursday] onwards with warmer days and colder nights,” IMD said in a bulletin. It added Srinagar recorded a minimum temperature of 0.9 degrees Celsius on Tuesday.