Jammu-Srinagar highway closed, helicopter services to Vaishno Devi suspended amid snowfall | Mobility news

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Due to heavy rain and snowfall, the 270 km Jammu-Srinagar national road is to be suspended on January 23. The only all-weather road linking Kashmir to the rest of the country has seen heavy traffic due to landslides that were triggered due to excessive rain and snowfall.

More than 100 trucks are stuck between Chanderkote and Ramsu. Highway clearing agencies work to clear the road for commuters. Officials said the helicopter service to Mata Vaishno Devi shrine atop the Trikuta hills in Reasi district also remains suspended due to bad weather. But the yatra continues despite a landslide on the new track and fresh snowfall at Bhawan.

Chief Superintendent of Police, Traffic, Shabir Ahmad Malik said the Jammu-Srinagar trunk road was closed after overnight rains triggered landslides and rocks being thrown from mounds at various locations including the cafeteria Morh, Duggi Pulli (Chanderkote) and Panthiyal in Ramban district. No new traffic, which was to flow from Jammu to Srinagar, was allowed this morning, he said.

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The officer further said that the Banihal sector also received heavy snowfall, making the arterial road slippery. According to officials, a landslide occurred on the new track leading to the Mata Vaishno Devi shrine around 5 a.m. on January 23. The landslide has been cleared and the route is now open to pilgrims, officials said, adding however helicopter service remained suspended due to inclement weather.

The Vaishno Devi shrine saw more than six inches of snowfall, while snow depth in its outlying areas, including Bhairon Ghati, was over a foot, officials said. The meteorological bureau predicted moderate rain or snowfall in both divisions of Jammu and Kashmir till Sunday evening, followed by significant improvement in weather conditions from Jan 24-28.

Katra, the base camp for pilgrims visiting Vaishno Devi shrine, recorded the highest rainfall of 50.6mm in the past 24 hours to 8.30am Sunday, while Jammu town recorded 13.7 mm of precipitation during the same period. Banihal town in Ramban district was the coldest place recorded in Jammu region with a low of minus 1.3 degrees Celsius followed by Bhaderwah (0.6 degrees Celsius), a spokesman for the meteorological department. He said Katra recorded a normal minimum temperature of 6.2 degrees Celsius, while Jammu city recorded 8.7 degrees Celsius, 1.7 notches above normal during this part of the season.

With PTI entries

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