SRINAGAR: The Jammu-Srinagar national highway continues to remain closed for the fifth consecutive day on Monday. The highway was closed by the authorities on December 10 after landslides hit the highway at various places. However, all the vehicles stranded at Banihal were allowed to move towards Srinagar.
“We are clearing the landslides, our men and machinery are at work. We are hopeful that we will be able to restore it by this evening,” said Muzafar Ahmad Shah, Superintendent of Police managing rural traffic.
A commuter Shakir Nazir, a post-graduate student at the Aligarh Muslim University, was stuck in the highway for three days. “We suffered a lot due to the unavailability of food and there was no safe place where we could take rest,” said Nazir who was travelling his home in south Kashmir after a year.
The Srinagar to Leh highway and Mughal Road also remains closed since December 10.
The highway continues to exhibit the routine winter shutdown because of landslides and other issues. On Saturday night, a DIG rank officer, Shalinder Kumar, was killed along with his driver as his personal security officer survived with serious injuries. The CRPF officer was travelling towards Srinagar when a boulder hit his official vehicle in Ramban.
The landslide, reports said, hit his Scorpio near Khooni Nallah (Samadi Morh) at around 6.30 pm while DIG, was moving along with his escort towards his place of posting. Hardly, a dozen light vehicles had crossed the point after the opening of the highway that the boulders enforced a fresh closure. The boulder has crushed his vehicle.
The Jammu-Srinagar highway was closed for traffic since Thursday evening following heavy snowfall in Jawahar Tunnel and adjoining areas and multiple landslides between Ramban and Banihal. The road was cleared of the debris in the afternoon and some vehicles, including that of the DIG, were allowed to pass on priority.
Kumar’s Personal Security Officer Mohammad Sharief Khan, a resident of North Kashmir’s Uri, was taken to the Ramban district hospital where his condition was said to be critical. He was later referred to the Army Hospital, Udhampur.
Meanwhile, the All India Radio Srinagar has quoted officials saying that the highway will be open for traffic from Srinagar to Jammu on Tuesday.