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Kashmir remains cut off for 3rd day

January 18, 2008 14:13 IST
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About two thousand passengers and truckers were stranded on the 300-km-long Srinagar-Jammu national highway, which remained closed for the third day on Friday following landslides and heavy snowfall.

Heavy snow was witnessed in Jawahar tunnel and Banihal sectors while rains triggered landslides at Penthal, the most troubled spot on the highway, linking the Kashmir valley with the rest of the country, official sources told UNI here.

Sources said no vehicles were being allowed to leave Srinagar or Jammu on Friday as about one foot of snow had accumulated near the tunnel at Banihal.

They said about 2,000 passengers, besides drivers and conductors of trucks and other vehicles, have been stranded on the highway for the past three days.

Traffic from the summer and winter capitals of the state would be allowed only when all the stranded vehicles were cleared, they said.

The Border Roads Organisation, responsible for the maintenance of the highway, has pressed into service more than 200 labourers and 40 sophisticated machines to clear the highway.

A BRO official said about 70 per cent of the snow clearance operation was completed on Tursday. However, due to fresh snowfall, it would now take a few more hours to clear the remaining accumulated snow, he added.

But, he said, the main concern for the authorities was Penthal, where landslides caused by heavy rains through the night.

More than 3,000 people have also been stranded at Jammu and Srinagar because of the highway closure.

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Source: source