Snow clearance starts on Ladakh highway, Kashmir highway through


The snow clearance operation started on this side of Zojila Pass on national highway, connecting the Ladakh region with Kashmir valley.
The highway was closed for traffic in December last year due to accumulation of snow and slippery road conditions, after below freezing temperature.
The historic Mughal road, connecting Shopian in south Kashmir with Rajouri and Poonch in Jammu region, also remained closed since December last year.
However, the national highway, linking the valley with the rest of the country, was through for one-way traffic and on Thursday, vehicles will ply from Jammu to Srinagar and no vehicle will be allowed from opposite direction.
Snow clearance operation started last week on the 12-km-long Gagangeer-Sonamarg stretch on this side of the Zojilla Pass of 434-km-long Srinagar-Leh national highway, officials told UNI.
The Border Roads Organisation (BRO), responsible for the maintenance of the highway, have pressed into service sophisticated snow cutter and dozens into service to clear the snow accumulated on the road. However, they said, snow clearance operation on 30-km-long stretch from Sonamarg to Zero Point on Zojilla Pass, was tough.
However, people of Drass, the world’s second coldest place after Siberia and border town of Kargil, alleged that despite very less snow as compared to previous years, the snow clearance operation from Sonamarg was taken up very late.
They said from Drass side, the snow clearance operation by HIMANK was almost completed last month up to its area of operation. However, from Sonamarg, the BRO failed to start early snow clearance operation, they alleged.
The residents further said that with a little effort by the district administration of Ganderbal and BRO, the road would have been reopened last month, as there was very less snowfall this winter.
Demanding that entire stretch from Sonamarg, including Zojila, be handed over to Kargil and HIMANK, the residents said people in entire Ladakh region are facing acute shortage of essentials, particularly fresh vegetables.
Meanwhile, only one-way traffic will continue on the 300-km-long Srinagar-Jammu national highway to avoid any traffic jam, since road widening and repair work at several places was going on. On Thursday, traffic will ply from Jammu to Srinagar and no vehicle, including security force convoy, would be allowed from opposite direction.