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Sgr-Jmu highway remains closed for fifth day

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Srinagar, Jan 25: The Srinagar-Jammu national highway remained closed for the fifth day on Friday as fresh snowfall hampered efforts of authorities to clear the road for vehicular movement.

The arterial road was closed on Tuesday after an avalanche had blocked both tubes of the Jawahar Tunnel on Qazigund side. The official said intermittent snowfall was hampering road clearance operations.

"The highway is still closed for traffic. Efforts are on to make the road traffic worthy at the earliest," an official of the Traffic department said.

Snowfall was also experienced in the rest of the Valley since Friday morning with Srinagar city getting nearly two inches of snow in the early hours, a MET department official said.

Meanwhile, cold wave conditions persisted in Kashmir as the minimum temperature at all places stayed well below the freezing point last night.

The minimum temperature in Srinagar last night settled at minus 1.3 degrees Celsius – slightly up from minus 1.5 degrees Celsius the previous night, the official said.

He said Qazigund – the gateway town to the Valley – in south Kashmir recorded a low of minus 1.2 degree Celsius, a surge of 1.8 degrees Celsius over the previous night.

The nearby Kokernag town registered a low of minus 3.0 degrees Celsius last night as the mercury rose over three degrees compared to previous night.

The mercury in Kupwara town in north Kashmir settled at a low of minus 3.0 degree Celsius, he said.

Gulmarg ski-resort in north Kashmir recorded a low of minus 10 degrees Celsius last night, a rise of 2.6 degrees over the previous night, while Pahalgam tourist resort, in south Kashmir, recorded a low of minus 6.1 degrees Celsius, the official said.

He said Leh, in the frontier Ladakh region, recorded a low of 12.9 degrees Celsius, a rise of over one degree over previous night.

The mercury in nearby Kargil settled at a low of minus 18.4 degrees Celsius.

Kargil was the coldest recorded place in Jammu and Kashmir as the minimum temperature settled at minus 19.8 degrees Celsius. The maximum temperature on Thursday at Kargil was minus 3 degrees Celsius.

Kashmir is currently under the grip of 'Chillai-Kalan' – the 40-day harshest period of winter when the chances of snowfall are believed to be most frequent and maximum and the temperature drops considerably.

'Chillai-Kalan' ends on January 31, but the cold wave continues even after that in Kashmir.

The 40-day period is followed by a 20-day long 'Chillai-Khurd' (small cold) and a 10-day long 'Chilla-Bachha' (baby cold).

Fresh landslides hit highway

Jammu, Jan 25: Five fresh landslides Friday hit the Srinagar-Jammu national highway, which remained closed for the fifth consecutive day, leaving 1,500 vehicles stranded at different places, officials said.

There were fresh landslides on the highway at Gangroo, Ramsoo, Pantiyal and Anokhi areas in Ramban districts, they said.

A portion of the highway has sunk near BGO office Ramsoo and work for clearance of landslides and restoration of the highway by men and machine of BRO is on, they said.

Official monitoring the work said the earlier landslide at Sherbibi was cleared but the work on the rest is on.

They said a portion of the road, which sunk at BDO office in Ramsoo, will be made trafficable for one way traffic after repairs.

At six places on the highway in Ramban section, there are either landslides or shooting of stones from mountain tops posing hurdles in clearance operations, IG Traffic Alok Kumar said.

Due to the closure of the highway over 1,500 vehicles, most of them trucks, have been stranded at various places in Kathua, Jammu, Udhampur, Chenani, Patnitop, Ramban, Batote, and Banihal areas, they said.

A massive avalanche also hit Chashoti area in Paddar in Kishtwar, they said.

There was no loss of life or injury to anyone, officials said.

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