Flight services hit in Kashmir
STATE TIMES NEWS
Banihal/Jammu: Traffic on the 270-km Jammu-Srinagar national highway was suspended on Saturday following fresh snowfall in high-altitude areas, including on both sides of the Jawahar Tunnel, the gateway to the Kashmir valley, officials said.
The air traffic to and fro Kashmir was also affected in the wake of snowfall in most parts of the valley, officials said.
“No flight operations have taken place at the Srinagar airport so far this morning,” an official said.
He added that the runway at the airport was not available for flight operations due to the accumulation of snow. “It is still snowing and hence, it is difficult to clear the runway for flight operations,” the official said.
Several flights have been delayed due to the snowfall, officials said.
A decision on the resumption of flight operations would be taken as and when the weather improves, they added.
Meanwhile, Deputy Superintendent of Police (Traffic) Shamsher Singh said the slippery condition of the road on both sides of the Jawahar Tunnel forced the suspension of traffic on the highway around 11 am.
“The snowfall started on both sides of the Jawahar Tunnel in the early hours of Saturday and so far, around four inches of snow have accumulated on the ground,” he told PTI.
The Border Roads Organisation (BRO) pressed its men and machines into service to clear the road of snow, but the continuous snowfall and the slippery conditions are hampering their efforts, the officer said, adding that over 100 vehicles had managed to cross the Jawahar Tunnel before the traffic on the highway was suspended.
The closure of the highway, the only all-weather road linking Kashmir with the rest of the country, left hundreds of vehicles stranded on the stretch between Udhampur and Banihal.
One-way traffic was allowed from Jammu towards Srinagar as vehicles on the road ply alternatively between the twin capitals of Jammu and Kashmir in view of the ongoing work of the four-lane highway project.
The snowfall started in the high-altitude areas of the Union Territory on Saturday, while Jammu and other regions in the plains witnessed rainfall.
The meteorological department has forecast light to moderate snowfall at scattered to widespread places in the plains of Kashmir and the hilly areas of Jammu, along with rain and thundershower in the plains of Jammu.