Along with mobile internet services that have remained snapped since August 5, the 270-km Jammu-Srinagar national highway, the only all-weather road linking Kashmir with the rest of the country, has also closed for the second day on Tuesday amid snowfall and landslides at several places in Ramban district, traffic department officials said.
Snowfall is continuing at many places including Jawahar Tunnel – the gateway to Kashmir valley, while rains triggered multiple landslides along Panthiyal-Ramsu stretch overnight, hampering efforts of early restoration of the highway, the officials said.
Vehicular traffic on the highway was suspended on Monday evening after snowfall and landslides, leaving over 600 vehicles stranded between Ramban and Banihal. About eight inches of snow had accumulated on the ground in the Jawahar Tunnel area since Monday, the officials said adding the shooting of stones from the hillocks overlooking the highway was continuing at Panthiyal, Digdole, Maroog, and Moumpassi.
“The reopening of the highway for vehicular traffic depends on the improvement in the weather and stopping of rocks sliding from the hills. The men and machines are ready to clear the highway of the debris,” they said. The weatherman has forecast significant improvement in weather from Tuesday evening but said another spell of snowfall and rains is likely to hit Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh between January 12-13.
With broadband services restored in 80 government hospitals and nursing homes in Kashmir on January 2, a move which brought a big relief for patients and healthcare professionals in the Valley. However, a major population remains without internet connectivity since prepaid services have not been restored. Every day a train to Kashmir’s remote cyber oasis, Banihal is packed as people travel for hours to get online in the disputed region where internet has been cut for five months.