Jammu-Srinagar highway reopens, over 4,500 vehicles resume journey

Banihal/Jammu, Nov 17 (PTI) Over 4,500 vehicles, mostly trucks carrying apples from Kashmir, have resumed their onward journey by Sunday afternoon as the Jammu-Srinagar national highway was reopened for traffic three days after being blocked by a massive landslide, officials said.

The 270-km strategic highway, the only all-weather road linking Kashmir with rest of the country, was cleared of debris brought in by the landslide near Digdole around 3 pm on Saturday, a traffic department official said.

However, intermittent shooting stones, due to rains, from the hillocks overlooking the highway at several places including Digdole, Maroog and Panthiyal disrupted free flow of traffic.

With improvement in weather, light motor vehicles were allowed to ply from both the sides, while preference was given to stranded Jammu-bound trucks carrying apples from Kashmir to outside markets.

'So far, over 3,700 trucks and 800 light motor vehicles crossed the Jawahar Tunnel, the gateway of Kashmir,' the official said adding Kashmir-bound trucks, which are stranded at various places on the highway, are likely to be allowed to move towards their destination later in the day.

Meanwhile, the Mughal Road which connects the border districts of Poonch and Rajouri in Jammu region with Shopian district in south Kashmir remained closed for the 12th day on Sunday.

The road, which usually remains closed during the winter months, was closed on November 6 after high altitude areas including Pir Ki Gali experienced the first major snowfall of the season.

Officials said a 37-km stretch of the road, from Bufliaz to Mansar morh, was cleared, while work on the seven-km stretch from Mansar morh towards Shopian is underway.

The road has become slippery after the recent snowfall, delaying its reopening, they said. PTI CORR/TAS NSDNSD