Ladakh highway remains closed for 4th day due to fresh snowfall

TNN Bureau. Updated: 12/13/2018 10:56:11 AM Regional News

Srinagar, Dec 13: The 434-km-long Srinagar-Leh national highway, the only road linking Ladakh region with Kashmir, remained closed for the fourth day on Thursday due to fresh snowfall, a traffic police official said.

Large number of vehicles, including trucks and oil tankers, are stranded on both sides of the Zojila pass.

Traffic remained suspended on the highway due to fresh snowfall and slippery road conditions, traffic official told TNN.

'We could not resume traffic as the road has become very slippery due to accumulation of snow, particularly between Sonmarg in central Kashmir district of Ganderbal and Zojila and Meenmarg, he said, adding that there was also threat of avalanches.

'We have withdrawn all our men who were deployed to regulate traffic during summer,' he said. However, local police and Beacon project officials were regulating traffic on the highway, he said, adding that there are very less chances of reopening of the road before next summer.

Only one-way traffic was plying on the highway for the past several weeks after first heavy snowfall when the Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir, announced closure of the highway. However, after protests by stranded passengers and residents of Kargil and Drass, one-way traffic was again allowed on the highway.

Large number of Kashmir-bound vehicles, including empty trucks and oil tankers besides carrying passengers, are stranded at Drass, Kargil and Meenmarg. Similarly, Ladakh-bounds trucks, carrying essentials and oil tankers have been stopped at Sonamarg in the central Kashmir district of Ganderbal.

The Beacon authorities will start snow clearance operation only when the snowfall stops and there is no threat of avalanches, official sources said, adding that the highway will be declared closed for winter if there is no improvement in the weather and road condition.

The Ladakh region remained cut off during six winter months due to heavy snowfall and avalanches. The Centre and state governments have already announced to construct a tunnel at Zojila to make it an all weather road.

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