Highway connecting Ladakh with Kashmir still closed

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The 434-km-long Srinagar-Leh national highway remained closed for the second day today due to fresh snowfall and slippery road conditions.

However, the national highway, linking the Kashmir valley with the rest of the country and historic Mughal road were through for traffic.

A massive snow clearance operation was going on to put through the national highway, connecting the Ladakh region with Kashmir, a traffic police official said.

He said the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) has put into service sophisticated machines and men to clear the snow on the road, particularly at Sonamarg, Zojila, Meenmarg and Drass, the second coldest place in the world after Siberia.   He said the weather is good today and the highway could reopen later in the afternoon if there is no fresh snowfall.

However, he denied that there was any vehicle stranded on the highway.   He said the cut off time for vehicles from both sides of the Zojila is 1200 hrs and there was no question of any vehicle getting stranded on the highway when it was closed for traffic due to snowfall and slippery road conditions.

However, he said, vehicles coming from different parts of the Ladakh region to Kashmir are at Drass since only one-way traffic is allowed on the highway.

Similarly some, Ladakh-bound vehicles are at Sonmarg , he said adding there is no vehicle between Sonmarg-Zojila and Drass on the highway.

He said the highway will remain open till weather permits and there is no threat of accident.     In the past the highway was being declared closed from November 1 for six winter months.

However, for the past few years the highway remained through even during December month also because of good weather.

The state and Central governments have already agreed to construct a tunnel at Zojila pass to make the highway an all weather road.

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