Flash floods triggered by heavy rains washed away the shuttering of an under-construction bridge and a 150-foot section of the Jammu-Srinagar national highway even as landslides in Ramban and Udhampur districts forced closure of the strategic road for the second consecutive day on Wednesday, leaving hundreds of vehicles stranded, officials said.
The traffic on the Mughal Road, which connects the twin districts of Poonch and Rajouri in the Jammu region with south Kashmir’s Shopian district, was also suspended due to landslides, they said.
”The shuttering of under-construction Peerah bridge was washed away due to heavy rains (on highway)”, police official said, adding that the one which is normally used for traffic is safe. In Udhampur district, a 150-foot stretch of the Jammu-Srinagar highway was washed away on Wednesday near Toldi Nallah, 16 kilometers away from Udhampur town, they said. Many machines were involved in the work to restore the road patch swept away in the flash floods in the Tawi river.
”Chances of road opening today are minimum. There are no report of any loss of life”, they said.”The Jammu-Srinagar highway is blocked due to fresh shooting stones and landslides at several places in Ramban district,” a traffic official said. There are over 33 landslides, mudslides and incidents of shooting stones reported on the 270-km highway in Ramban and Udhampur districts, they said. The highway was closed for traffic due to shooting stones at Panthiyal on Tuesday. Work is on to clear the highway, the officials said.
The situation at Battery Cheshma on the highway is bad as a lot of mud is to be cleared to ensure that heavy vehicles trapped in it are cleared, they said. The road connecting Khari to Mahoo and Khari to Nachlana blocked due to mudslide and shooting stones and part of the road sank at Hirnihaal, they said, adding the people are again advised not to venture out. According to some reports, over 1,000 vehicles are stranded at various places along the highway.
As highway continues to be closed for traffic, stranded passengers were provided with food and medical facilities, they said. It is still raining in Ramsoo-Ramban sector as of now, the officials said. The Mughal Road is blocked due to landslides at Poshana while the SSG road is blocked at Chini nallah and efforts are on to clear them, they said.
However, heavy rains are hindering the cleaning operation, the officials said.