Fresh snowfall in Kashmir on Saturday affected air and surface traffic as the Srinagar-Jammu national highway was closed for vehicles due to shooting stones and flights were delayed because of poor visibility, officials said.
The highway too remained closed on Friday and Thursday due to shooting stones at Panthyal and many other places in Ramban district. Flights scheduled to arrive at Srinagar international airport were delayed due to poor visibility caused by the fresh spell of snowfall. "Flights will resume only after improvement in the visibility," an official of the Airport Authority of India said.
Snowfall has been going on in most places in the Kashmir Valley since early morning. An official of the traffic control department said the work on the restoration of the 270-km Jammu-Srinagar national highway was going on and vehicular movement may resume later in the day.
The highway, the only all-weather road linking Kashmir with the rest of the country, was closed on Thursday following multiple landslides between Panthiyal and Ramsu in Ramban district, leaving over 1,000 vehicles including passenger vehicles stranded at different places. Officials said the road clearance operation at Panthiyal, Cafetaria Morh and Mehar is going on in full swing.
The iron and steel tunnel at Panthiyal was almost completely damaged by the shooting stones from the hillock overlooking the highway, they said, adding there was huge debris piled up at Cafetaria Morh and more men and machines were pressed into service to remove the road blockade. The officials said the district administration Ramban provided food and shelter to the stranded passengers, who will be given preference once the road is reopened for traffic.
“No traffic was allowed either from Srinagar or Jammu. Once the road is through, only the stranded vehicles will be allowed to move towards their respective destinations,” a traffic department official said. He said the fresh traffic from the twin capitals is likely to be restored Sunday morning, depending on the road condition.However, there will be one-way restrictions on the heavy motor vehicles plying on the highway, he added.