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Traffic on Jmu-Sgrr highway suspended after rains trigger mudslides

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Banihal, Jul 27: Traffic on the Jammu-Srinagar national highway was suspended on Saturday due to mudslides after heavy rains at several places in Ramban district, leaving hundreds of vehicles stranded, officials said.

The intermittent rains lashed many parts of Jammu and Kashmir since Wednesday evening and are likely to continue till Sunday.

Rolling down of stones from the hillocks overlooking the highway and mudslides occurred at several places, including Panthiyal, Iron stand Digdole, Battery Cheshma, Anokhi fall and Kelamorh along the 270 km highway, forcing suspension of the traffic, the officials said.

They said the traffic on the highway was suspended soon after a Kashmir-bound convoy carrying 3,926 pilgrims crossed the trouble prone area around forenoon.

Hundreds of commuters, including Amarnath pilgrims returning from Kashmir, were left stranded, the officials said, adding the continuous rains were hampering the clearance operation.

Two private passenger vehicles were hit after stones rolled down near Battery Cheshma but the inmates escaped unhurt, they said.

Meanwhile, the 434-km Srinagar-Leh national highway remained closed for vehicular traffic for the third day on Saturday due to multiple landslides and cloudburst in Zojilla pass area, they said.

Efforts are on to restore the only road linking frontier Ladakh region with rest of the state, the officials said.

They said the traffic was plying smoothly on Mughal road, connecting the twin districts of Poonch and Rajouri in Jammu with south Kashmir’s Shopian district, after it was cleared of debris from a landslide near Peer Ki Gali area on Friday.

Issuing an alert, Director of Meteorological department Sonam Lotus said the intermittent moderate to heavy rains over the past couple of days had left the soil saturated and additional rain may trigger landslides, flash floods and mudslides.

"General public and the state administration are requested to remain cautious for next few days as weather is adverse and likely to remain so over the next 24 hours," Lotus said.

Meanwhile, a bus was caught in a flash flood near Pacca Kotha in Kathua district but all the passengers were timely rescued by the police with the help of local residents.

The bus was coming from Billawar to Jammu when it got stuck on a flooded road, the officials said.

The downpour has also caused water-logging at many places in Jammu city as people in various low lying areas complained that the rain water had entered their houses and shops due to flooding of streams and drains.

Passengers at Jammu airport also faced hardships after rain water entered the terminal through the damaged roof, the officials said. (With PTI inputs)

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