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Mughal road likely to open next week

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Jammu, Apr 27: The Mughal road, connecting the twin districts of Poonch and Rajouri in the Jammu region with Shopian in south Kashmir, is likely to be thrown open for vehicular traffic early next week as the snow clearance operation is almost complete, a senior official said Saturday.

The 84-km mountainous road was closed for vehicular traffic on January 01 after high altitude areas along the way experienced heavy snowfall.

The opening of the Mughal road will ease pressure on the only the Jammu-Srinagar national highway which witnessed frequent closure this winter due to landslides between Ramban and Banihal at regular intervals amid the ongoing work on the four-lanning project, leading to scarcity of essential commodities in the Valley.

"The Shopian side is almost clear up to Peer Ki Gali, while work is on to clear the remaining 200-metre stretch from the Poonch side which is expected to be completed by this (Saturday) evening or tomorrow," In-charge Chief Engineer, Mughal Road Project, Mohammad Ashraf Bhat was quoted as saying by PTI.

He said debris from the shooting of stones from the hillocks overlooking the road accumulated at a few places is also being cleared.

"Subject to the clearance from the traffic department, the road is likely to be thrown open on April 29 or 30," Bhat said, adding the traffic department will conduct the inspection of the road once the clearance operation is complete and take a call on its reopening accordingly.

The mechanical division of the Roads and Buildings department launched a massive snow-clearance operation on the road, which usually remains closed for traffic during winter, around middle of March to ensure its early reopening.

However, the frequent snowfall delayed the snow clearance operation.

The work on the construction of the historic road, which was used by Mughal kings to reach Kashmir and is thus named after them, started in 2005 and it was completed in December 2008.

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