Fresh snowfall in Kashmir forced the closure of the Srinagar-Jammu National Highway,cutting off the Valley from the rest of the country.
Air traffic to and fro the Valley was also suspended.
“The highway has been closed due to fresh snowfall at Banihal-Patnitop stretch which has rendered the road slippery,” Ramban Superintendent of Police Anil Magotra said.
There is snowfall at Jawahir Tunnel,Banihal,Shatani Nallah,Ramso areas,Batote and Patnitop area,while heavy rains have lased Ramban section besides,there is a major landslide at Digdol area of the highway,he said.
The 294-km arterial road,the only road link between Kashmir and rest of the country,was earlier closed on January 15 due to heavy snowfall and reopened for one-way traffic on Tuesday evening to allow the stranded vehicles to reach the summer capital.
Due to the closure of the highway,over 2,970 vehicles are stranded at various places mostly at Ramban,Udhampur and Nagrota areas in Jammu district.
Men and machines of Border Road Organisations are working over time to clear snow from the highway. “But the snow clearance operation is facing difficulty due to continuous snowfall,” Magrotra said.
Snowfall began in most parts of the Valley last evening while in the summer capital of the state it started early this morning.
The air traffic has also been suspended due to snowfall which reduced the visibility at Srinagar International Airport. Air traffic was restored on Tuesday after remaining suspended for two days. The airlines operated 40 flights on Tuesday and Wednesday to facilitate travel of stranded passengers and tourists in the Valley.
Although authorities claimed fresh supplies of essential commodities reached the Valley over the past two days,there is acute shortage of LPG cooking gas,kerosene and fresh vegetables in the markets.
Long queues could be seen outside gas distribution outlets but people had to return empty handed as the distributors maintained that the supplies were still in transit. The shortage of essentials in the markets here has led to price escalation. The authorities have formed market checking squads to keep prices under control.
Meanwhile,the inter-district highway of Jammu-Rajouri-Poonch has been restored for traffic,while Doda-Kishtwar is still closed due to snowfall.
Besides,most of the inter-district roads in Reasi,Doda,Kishtwar,Ramban and partly Kathua districts are closed due to heavy snowfall.
The inter-state Bhaderwah-Chamba (Himachal Pradesh) road is also closed following 9 feet snow at Sartangal Pass.