Highway connecting Ladkh with Kashmir closed due to snowfall

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The 434-km-long national highway, linking Ladakh region with the Kashmir valley, remained closed for the second day today due heavy snowfall at several places.

However, the historic Mughal road and Bandipora to border town of Gurez are open though only day traffic is allowed to avoid any accident.

Traffic on the highway remained  closed for the second day today as more than a feet of snowfall had accumulated between Sonmarg, Zojila and Meenamarg, a traffic police official told UNI here today.

He said the Border Roads Organisation (BRO), responsible for the maintenance of the highwy, has already pressed into service to clear the snow on the highway. The road has become slippery after snow was frozen due to below freezing temperature, particularly at Zojila pass, he said adding decision to stranded vehicles to move would be taken only after receiving green signal that road is safe for journey.

However, he said, the highway from border town of Kargil to Leh was still through.

Passengers stranded at Sonmarg, on this side of the Zojilla, alleged that there was no arrangement and they had to remove snow and park their vehicles on both sides of the road there. Large number of vehicles, including those carrying passengers, are stranded at Sonmarg, they said adding there is no official word whether they will be allowed to move towards Kargil.

Similarly large number of vehicles, including empty trucks, are stranded on other side of the Zojila, including at Drass, Meenmarg and Kargil, they said.

Normally the Leh highway was being closed from November Ist for six winter months in the past due to snowfall and below freezing temperature. However, for the past few years the highway remained open till weather permits.

The authorities have claimed that enough stock of essentials, including rice, atta, sugar, kerosene oil, diesel, petrol, LPG cylinders and medicines have been made at district and tehil headquarters in the Ladakh region for winter months.

Meanwhile, Mughal road, connecting Shopian in south Kashmir with Rajouri and Poonch in Jammu region was through though only day traffic is allowed as road gets slippery due to considerable drop in the temperature during night.

Similarly only day traffic is allowed on Bandipora and border town of Gurez in north Kashmir.

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