Jammu-Srinagar national highway closed due to landslide

The landslide occurred near Battery Cheshma, completely blocking the 270-km arterial road, the official added. (Express Photo by Shuaib Masoodi/Representational)

A landslide hit the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway in Jammu and Kashmir’s Ramban district in the wee hours of Saturday, leading to the suspension of traffic on the only road linking Kashmir with the rest of the country, officials said.

The landslide was triggered by incessant rains over the past two days and officials say the restoration will take hours. "Given the massive debris, the restoration work will take many hours. We are on the job and are trying our best to restore the highway as soon as possible," Suresh Sharma, Deputy Superintendent of Police (traffic), national highway Ramban, told news agency PTI. The landslide occurred near Battery Cheshma, completely blocking the 270-km arterial road, the official added.

The traffic on the highway plies from the twin capitals of Srinagar and Jammu alternatively due to the ongoing work on the four-laning project. Thousands of vehicles, which had left for Srinagar from here this morning, remain stranded on the highway following the closure of the road. The restoration process has already begun.

The authorities, meanwhile, have withdrawn Governor Satya Pal’s decision that restrained movement of civilian traffic on the national highway between Srinagar and Jammu and the restricts will be lifted from Monday (May 27). The state administration had on May 7 reduced the number of days from two to one and allowed civilian traffic on Wednesdays. The restrictions were put into force following concerns over the security movement on the highway in the wake of Pulwama terror attack.

In order to facilitate safe and secure movement of convoys of the security forces, the state administration had imposed a prohibition on civilian traffic on the highway from Baramulla to Udhampur twice a week — Sunday and Wednesday — from 4 am-5 pm. Elaborate arrangements were, however, made by the local administration to facilitate the movement of the public during the period of restriction, it claimed.