The Ladakh region remained cut off from the Kashmir valley for the fifty day on Friday following closure of the 434-km-long Srinagar-Leh National Highway due to accumulation of several feet of snow and slippery road conditions, a traffic police official said here.
Large number of vehicles, including trucks and oil tankers, are stranded on both sides of the Zojila pass, where snow had accumulated, making snow clearance operation almost impossible.
Traffic remained suspended on the highway due to fresh snowfall during the past 24 hours and slippery road conditions..
There is very less chance of resumption of traffic on the highway following accumulation of snow and below freezing temperature due to which road has become slippery.
There is also threat of snow avalanche, he said.
”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.
Only one-way traffic was being allowed on the highway for the past several week 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. People in Kargil alleged that adequate essential commodities have not been stocked.
However, authorities claimed that essentials commodities, including rice, atta, sugar, petrol, diesel, LPG cylinders and medicine have been stocked in different areas of Kargil and Leh districts which remained cut off for six winter months due to heavy snowfall.
Large number of Kashmir-bound vehicles, including empty trucks and oil tankers besides carrying passengers, are stranded at Drass, Kargil and Meenmarg. Similarly, Ladakh-bound 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 weather improves 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.
The Ladakh region remained cut off during six winter months due to heavy snowfall and snow avalanches. The Union Government and state governments have already announced to construct a tunnel at Zojila to make it an all weather road.